After Tory MP Lee Anderson claimed it was possible to cook “nutritious meals” for 30p, professional chef Gareth Mason tried it.
The chef, who has 19 years’ experience, set himself the task of cooking seven basic meals that fit within the 30p budget.
Mr Mason made crab stick salad, burgers, spaghetti Napoli, beans on toast, a jacket potato with beans, and a ‘spam fritter’ made from cheap luncheon meat.
His verdict? They were not nutritionally balanced or big enough to sustain an adult:
“I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a load of rubbish,” the head chef at Absolute Bistros in Westhoughton, Lancashire told HullLive.
“These meals I’ve done, as soon as you put any protein or dairy into them, it’s not feasible to do it for 30p.
“If you eat beans on toast for every meal, it might work, but even if you did cheese on toast, the cost of cheese would be more than 30p on its own.
“And you have the cooking cost on top of the cost of the food.”
That last point is right on the nose.
At a time when the cost of the energy needed to cook is rocketing, this overprivileged MP didn’t even have the intelligence to include it in his claim.
And Mr Mason had another thought about Lee Anderson’s disproved theory:
Gareth said while Mr Anderson’s 30p figure may be achievable using batch cooking methods in a professional kitchen, there aren’t many people who have the space or storage required to make it work.
“Has this guy ever eaten a 30p meal in his life? I doubt it,” Gareth asked.
“He’s contradicted himself by having chefs cook the food in a big kitchen with an industrial oven.
“Where does he expect the average person to cook all this food and then freeze it all?”
Where indeed? And freezers don’t work for free.
“You could just about feed yourself, but it’s not going to be healthy or nutritious or get anywhere near the number of calories an average adult needs to function each day,” he said.
“He’s treating people like peasants. Energy prices are going up, people are struggling, the cost of living is on the rise, and what’s their solution? Eat for 30p?
“The cheaper you go, how much rubbish is in the food?
“It will be full of additives and preservatives and all sorts of junk. It’s not fresh, nutritious food that people need to have a healthy diet.”
So there you have it. Lee Anderson’s claims have been definitively disproved.
Remember that, next time a filthy rich Tory MP makes wild claims about what can be achieved with very little, when they’ve never had to face the same restrictions.
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