UK charity FareShare, which aims to fight hunger and food waste, is teaming up with Tesco and Jamie Oliver to train over 1,000 community cooks to use surplus food donations to stop food going to waste.

The Tesco Community Cookery School with Jamie Oliver has been developed in partnership with FareShare to help community groups by offering training and advice on how to prepare nutritionally-balanced meals using surplus food donations.

The cookery school is being launched today at the Goodinge Community Centre in Islington, London and the programme will continue to run throughout the year across the UK.

The community cooks will learn everything from knife skills and nutrition to recipes for versatile base sauces that can be adapted to complement a wide variety of donated food. Training will be free and attendees will receive free cooking equipment and a folder featuring Jamie Oliver’s food surplus recipes.

Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish the amount of food wasted in its operations in 2013. The retailer is nearly 80% of the way towards achieving its target that no food safe for human consumption goes to waste. So far Tesco has donated over 60 million meals of surplus food to charities and good causes.

FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell said: “With Tesco’s support, FareShare is working with charities across the country to help feed hundreds of thousands of people in need every week. Most of these charities provide meals made by community cooks, who may already have lots of experience and just need some new ideas; or they could do with a really good grounding in nutrition and the scaling up of meals.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said: “Surplus food donations make a huge difference to people in need, but can also create challenges for community cooks faced with unexpected, unusual or large volumes of a particular product.

“As a next step in our fight against food waste, we’re launching the Tesco Community School with Jamie Oliver to help community cooks avoid food waste. With Jamie’s help, we believe we can inspire, train and support charities to do even more with the donations they receive. Together, we can bring tasty and nutritious food to more people, in communities’ right across the UK.”

Jamie Oliver said: “It’s fantastic to join the work that Tesco and FareShare are doing to reduce food waste. The food industry throws away a shocking amount of fresh edible food, so Tesco’s efforts to find a good home for its surplus is a big step in the right direction.”