Update: March 17
It was confirmed last Friday that the bid to get Jamie's Pop Up Kitchen to Wingham was unsuccessful.
Wednesday March 12
COME to Wingham Jamie!
IF a local campaign lead by Donna Carrier is successful then celebrity chef Jamie Oliver could be heading this way.
The Bent on Food proprietor has nominated Wingham to host Jamie's Ministry of Food Pop Up Kitchen for 12 months; a service and a mission to keep cooking skills alive by getting the community inspired by healthy food and cooking.
Jamie brought the opportunity to Australia recently and many other towns have also submitted an entry including Port Macquarie.
"We really hope our little town we will stand out," said Donna who set up a Facebook page 'Help bring Jamie Olivers Pop up Kitchen to Wingham.'
By the end of the first day the page had already attracted more than 1000 likes and news has spread across the district. The entire Manning Valley is getting behind the campaign, and Donna is delighted by the response in just a few days.
"As probably the smallest town to enter, we have done amazingly well so far," she said.
Donna is so passionate to improve the cooking and food knowledge of all members of the community she has offered her Bent Street cookery school free to the campaign.
With full disabled access, Donna hopes the gap left by the closure last year of Taree Community College - and with it the specialist cooking classes for the disabled - might be filled by the pop up kitchen.
"This is a well set up space and offers a lot of scope for the pop up kitchen to work in well with other local programs," she said. "The kitchen is simply not used enough and I would love to see it be of such benefit to the community."
With good long term benefits to tourism and showcasing local produce to a wider audience, Donna is excited by the possibilities.
"There is such a need for this in our community, it will be well used."
Donna was able to get letters of support from the wider community including Greater Taree City Council, Akoostik Festival, author Di Morrissey, Wingham Beef Exports and North Coast Destination Network.
Jamie's advisory panel is sorting through the applications this week and will announce the finalists on Friday.
"The more likes we get this week, the greater our chances of standing out," Donna said.
To show your support 'like' the "Help bring Jamie Oliver's Pop Up Kitchen to Wingham" Facebook page.