Guest Blog: Valentine Warner, plus our Root Camp comp

Root Camp is the brainchild of Cassia Kidron. Aimed at 15–21 year olds, these residential courses educate young people about food: where it comes from and how best to cook it.

We caught up with chef Valentine Warner to have chat about his involvement in Root Camp. Plus, we’ve got a fantastic prize for budding young chefs – a free place on a Root Camp course. Read on for more info about the competition. Valentine Warner – So, Valentine, what is Root Camp and how did you get involved? 
Root Camp is an excellent programme encouraging kids from all backgrounds to get together for a week of nature and energetic cooking. Everybody gets on and any idea of different upbringings quickly becomes irrelevant. It really is a very wonderful thing to be involved in. Good food, good fun and teaching enjoyed by both kids and teachers.

– What was the highlight of your Root Camp trip to Carmarthenshire last year? 
The high point for me was realising I hadn’t underestimated any of the kids. They were all adventurous, they all tried new things – their inquisitive spirit drove them on. I was very uplifted, if a little exhausted!

– Why is teaching young people about sourcing, preparing and cooking food so important? 
Our kids are the future of our increasingly fragile world and how we look after it. We will be passing on the baton and, unless they understand nature and what it gives us, we’re in deep trouble.

– What do you get back from teaching young people about food?
They teach me a lot about engaging with children, about how each individual overcomes, calculates or understands something and I am often blown away by their deep perception.  I guess it’s because it’s coming from an age group that I don’t always expect it from.

– What can parents do at home to educate their kids about food – from field to table? 
Start with simple things, like cooking with them every week. It’s very easy to grow things like herbs in pot plants etc. – it’s not rocket science. I think eating around the table as a family is very important too.

– Any easy recipe suggestions to help young cooks get the hang of it?
Understand what’s at its best and strike like a kingfisher. Right now, get a big bowl of blackcurrants, whip some cream, break up some meringue or shortbread, mix together – bingo, instant pudding.

– What are your top tips for young chefs?
More ingredients doesn’t make better recipes. KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Don’t let disaster put you off. Just try it again and remember what you got wrong the first time. Try and understand ingredients you’re tempted to walk away from.  An artichoke looks complicated to prepare. It’s not. Enjoy your food.

Valentine cooking

Our Root Camp competition

Valentine will be cooking at Root Camp from 28th July–2nd August, and we’re giving one lucky youngster the chance to attend the course for free.

To enter the competition, simply ask your budding chef how they’d cook our seasonal ingredient, squid. Then post their culinary suggestion on this blog as a comment, along with the order number from your last receipt.

If you know any other 15–21 year olds who might like to attend Root Camp this year, here are the course dates:
19th–24th July
28th July–2nd August
4th–9th August

For more information, head to the Root Camp website.  


Terms and Conditions

  • This competition is open to Ocado account holders who have posted a comment on this blog post in accordance with this competition and have a postal address within the Ocado delivery area. To check if you live within the Ocado delivery area, please visit and enter your postcode.
  • Anyone directly connected with the planning or administration of this competition or who does not have a delivery address within the Ocado delivery area will not be eligible to win a prize.
  • Prize Details: There is one prize of one place at a Root Camp course from 28 July-2nd August, at fforest, Wales. Travel, insurance and spending money are not included. The place can only be redeemed by someone between the ages of 15 and 21. For full camp details visit, the Root Camp website.
  • To enter, state the way your young person would prepare and serve squid in the comments below, and state your last order number, which can be found on the top of your last receipt.
  • The closing date and time for entries into the competition is 23.59 on 20/07/2014. Entries placed after this date and time will not be included in the competition.
  • The winner will be selected by the Ocado social media team based on the quality of the recipe they suggest in the week commencing 21/07/2014.
  • The winner of the prize will be contacted within 5 days of the draw and will be given full details of how to redeem their prize. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not respond within 14 days, or cannot take up the prize, then Ocado reserves the right to select another winner.
  • The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative available.
  • Ocado reserves the right to substitute the prize with another prize of equal or greater value or to terminate, amend, extend or shorten the promotional period at any time and without notice.
  • Your personal data will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to any third parties for their marketing purposes.
  • Ocado has organised this competition in good faith but cannot accept any liability relating to the competition or the prize offered.
  • All entry instructions form part of these Terms and Conditions. By entering this promotion, all participants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by them.
  • The promoter of this competition is Ocado Shared Services. For details of the winner’s name and county please email

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