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Get in the mix with the Great Big Pan Challenge!

If you’ve got a talent for creating tasty dishes from simple ingredients, get your apron on for the Great Big Pan Challenge!

Prizes are on offer for the best home cooks in Blackburn with Darwen – including a one-to-one cooking session with celebrity chef Nigel Haworth!  

Led by Healthier Place, Healthier Future, the Great Big Pan Challenge is a cooking competition that aims to galvanise the energy around Blackburn and Darwen to become a food resilient community, helping the community to find long-term solutions to food access and availability. The challenge is a borough-wide initiative to encourage local residents to be creative in their cooking, to support community members to share their ideas and inspiration, and to raise awareness of food insecurity and the difficulties families may face in preparing healthy, varied meals for their families. It is free for all residents to enter, and we very much want to encourage entries from all ages and from every corner of Blackburn and Darwen. The competition is about creative cooking with ingredients based on the Trussell Trust Food parcel list, with the addition of some store cupboard additions.  

The competition will run from 8 June to 30 June with the winners announced the first week in July. To enter the competition: participants must prepare a main meal; name their dish – the more creative the better; include a photo or a video or a drawing of the dish; write the recipe or short instructions on how to prepare the dish; and include a short description of the dish and why others should try it.  

The winners will be chosen by our all-star judging panel: Chef Nigel Haworth (The Great British Menu), Graham Liver (BBC Radio Lancashire), Zainab Bilal (Winner of ‘Best British Pie’ and owner of Pie Mezzanae) and Muhammed Bapu (deputy Youth MP for Blackburn with Darwen). A ‘Great Big Pan Hamper’ filled with all the essential cooking utensils and much more; a cooking ‘Shed Session’ with Nigel Haworth; and a month’s supply of Pie Mezzanae’s quirky fusion pies are up for grabs for the top entrees. There will be other goodies to be won by runners-up too.

The Great Big Pan Challenge is supported by the Blackburn with Darwen’s Crisis Response Food Group – a group of agencies brought together by the Council – who are all responding to support vulnerable groups to access food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health & Wellbeing, commented: 

“It’s been so heartening to see how different agencies and community groups have come together over the past couple of months to ensure that no one in Blackburn with Darwen goes without food at this tricky time.  

“This competition is a great way for local people of all ages to show their creative flair with some simple ingredients and what they’ve got in their kitchen cupboards. Home chefs can share a flavour of what they like to cook in their own kitchens and get some inspiration from others too. It’s a chance for everyone to find new healthy dishes to try, and maybe win some great prizes too.”

To enter the Great Big Pan Challenge, send your kitchen creations to:

  1. By post: Blackburn Youth Zone, Jubilee Street, BB1 1EP
  2. By e-mail:
  3. By Twitter: use #GreatBigPanChallenge and tag @HealthierPlace

Notes to editors: 

Healthier Place, Healthier Future is a Pennine Lancashire trailblazer exploring levers to improve the food environment via system leadership, aligned planning policy and business/community engagement. As part of the wider Local Government Association led Department of Health and Social Care Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme (COTP). For more information click here