Our team unusually combines hands-on cooking and local expertise with high-level research capabilities  

Ben Purton,    Partner Chef

Ben Purton, Director

About Ben >

Ben has worked as an executive chef for a number of high-profile brands, with the Royal Hourseguards Hotel ‘s One Twenty One Two (recipient of two AA rosettes), Selfridges, Hyatt Regency and Goldman Sachs on his culinary CV. He was the Lancaster’s Executive Chef 2014-2018, giving him responsibility over an 85-strong kitchen brigade, as well as over the Lancaster’s Apprentice Scheme. Ben is renowned for his passion and dedication for giving back to the community. Whether this is training ex-offenders and giving them a much needed second chance to succeed in the workplace, organising work placements for students, judging Springboard’s Future Chef Competition, or auctioning himself as a prize for charity, Ben always goes above and beyond.


Carlos Montes, Director

About Carlos >

Carlos has led entrepreneurship and health projects for Cisco, the Department of Health, Accenture and the Big Lottery Fund. Previously, he worked for the World Bank (USA) and led evaluation of programmes worth more than £10 billion for the EU Council of Ministers.

Carlos was appointed Associate of the UK Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in recognition for his management and evaluation expertise. Carlos holds post graduate degrees in Economics from Yale University and Columbia University. He leads the collaboration between Food Academy and research organisations.

In 2011, Carlos put together the funding, set up and successfully managed the first Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food in London. Carlos received cooking training by the Jamie Oliver team and thanks to this he has become a keen cook! Carlos is a Springboard Ambassador promoting the Hospitality and Catering industry.

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San Channa, Director

About San >

Sandeep is a nutrition professional and a trained cook. She has become a well known face in Newham. Sandeep received Jamie Oliver’s training as a Ministry of Food instructor and “Trainer of Trainers.” Previously she delivered projects for the NHS: “Cook and Eat” programmes providing cooking and nutrition advice to homeless people, the elderly and nutritional guidance for overweight children under MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition and Do It programme).

For NHS Chelsea, she reviewed Children’s Centres recipes using the NUTMEG programme and for NHS Brent, she worked with Children Centres providing mothers with weening advice, working with children that were fussy eaters.

Sandeep was an Olympic Torchbearer in recognition of her remarkable community spirit. Sandeep holds a BSC in Nutrition from London Metropolitan University. She is a registered Associate Public Health Nutritionist. Sandeep also gained a Level 2 Award in Culinary Arts.

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Matthew Cockerill, Director

About Matthew >

Matt is co-founder of ckbk and of Bio-Med Central, the first and largest open access science publisher. Bio-Med Central pioneered the open access publishing model where all peer-reviewed research articles published are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BMC was acquired by Springer in 2008.

ckbk collects and shares the finest food content, including a ranking of the best 1000 cookbooks as judged by a panel of leading Chefs and food experts.

Matt is a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Cambridge University working on the cell cycle with Tim Hunt (2001 Nobel Prize) at the Imperial College Research Fund.

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Mel Robinson,

About Mel >

Mel is a Newham resident through and through. She took one of our first Jamie's Ministry of Food courses. Mel started as a volunteer and she makes sure that our kitchen operates like a well oiled machine. Mel has worked for 20 years delivering Caribbean street food for large events, including Glanstonbury. There is no operation that is too complex for Food Academy thanks to Mel's presence in the kitchen. She works with all age groups from reception school children, Prince’s Trust participants and our 50+ groups. She has a keen interest in baking and cake decorating.

Jeremy Pang,  Partner Chef

Jeremy Pang, Chef

About Jeremy >

Delivering Get Into Hospitality, a gold standard programme of cookery classes and work experience that gets great jobs for unemployed young people. Jeremy is a celebrity Chef with two best selling books and the founder and School of Wok, an award-winning cookery school in London. Jeremy comes from three generations of Chinese chefs and having studied at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, there is very little that this food enthusiast doesn’t know about Eastern cuisine. Jeremy attributes his love of food to his father, who was keen for him to experience exciting flavours and exotic foods as a Jeremy’s expertise in the Chinese food industry has continued to gain recognition. Jeremy was a contributor to Nigel’s Simple Cooking series an has appeared on Sunday Brunch, The Big Eat, Blue Peter, Nigel and Adams Farm Kitchen.

Annemarie Knight    Food Academy Nutrition and Dietetics Associate

Annemarie Knight, Associate

About Annemarie >

Annemarie coordinates the programme of Public Health work/research placements between Kings College London and Food Academy and other special research projects. Annemarie is Programme Director for the undergraduate and postgraduate Dietetics programmes and a Lecturer at King’s College London. Before joining Kings College London, Annemarie was Dietetic Services Manager at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and she worked as a dietitian in several London teaching hospital specialising in nutrition and gastroenterology. Annemarie’s research interests include food service and public health. She holds a BSC Hons, in Nutrition and Dietetics from Trinity College and a Diploma in Management Studies from Kingston University.


Shakila Thangaratinam, Research Partnership QMU

About Shakila >

Shakila is a professor in maternal and perinatal health at Queen Mary University of London and consultant at Barts Health NHS Foundation Trust. She is research and development director for the Women’s Health Clinical Academic Group at Barts Health. Her work has been in the fields of Health Technology Assessment in maternal medicine and Obstetrics, and evidence based medicine. Her work in the field of pre-eclampsia over the past eight years has led to many publications. It has had a direct impact on recommendations from International Guidelines and the recently published NICE guidelines on pre-eclampsia. Her NIHR Health Technology Assessment work on evaluating the effect of dietary and lifestyle interventions in reducing or preventing obesity in pregnancy. The findings of this project, published in the BMJ, were widely taken up by the national press, reaching an estimated audience of 12 million readers. She is on the Executive Committee of the Maternal Medicine Clinical Study Group and represents the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at the National Obesity Steering Group of the Academy Of Medical Royal Colleges.

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Phil Veasey, Public Health

About Phil >

Phil help organisations develop and scale interventions and has a reputation for inspiring teams to create and implement big impact national services. Phil was the Director of Business and Marketing for Mytime Active, creating 'One You Walsall" a £2m programme providing disadvantaged residents with a single point of contact to access preventative health programmes and support. He also was Director of Strategic Parnterships and Public Affairs for MEND, where he was part of the Bupa and Tower Hamlets PCT programme to address obesity and helath inequalities in up to 6000 residents. He has also led in projects supporting Sport England to increase the numbers of young people in participating in physical activity and sport, the Bupa Global CMO network "Making Work a Healthier Place, support for the development of the Health Foundation, showcasing for Nestle approaces to creating healthy communities, recommendations to the Morgan Stanley's "Healthy Cities London programme. Phil currently sits on the National Child Measurement Programe Board of Public Health England, and the Guys and St Thomas Charity- Childhood Obesity Programme Oversight Committee.


Martin White, Behaviour Change

About Martin >

Food Academy has benefitted greatly from Martin’s advice on how to effectively incorporate behavioural change tools into all our programmes and on the scientific aspects of diabetes prevention. We also worked together on a research proposal to evaluate our behaviour change intervention on patients with gestational diabetes.

Professor Martin White is programme lead for food systems and public health at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine. Martin is a clinical academic, trained in medicine and public health, with broad experience of public health research and practice, and a national and international reputation for his research and leadership. Martin is principal investigator in the Public Health Research Consortium, Department of Health and at the NIHR Public Health Research funding programme. He is President of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine (2017-2018).

Lord Andrew Mawson,  Patron

Lord Andrew Mawson, Patron

About Andrew >

Founded the Bromley- by-Bow Centre in East London, Community Action Network (CAN) and Poplar Harca (one of the first housing companies). He co-founded One Church 100 Uses CIC and launched Water City Group to create and implement a vision for East London revitalised by the opportunities of the 21st Century and the 2012 Olympic Games.

Andrew was made a life Peer in 2007 in recognition for the social impact of his work. He is also the best selling author of the book, “The Social Entrepreneur: Making Communities Work” and Director of the London Legacy Development Corporation. Andrew has inspired the work of Food Academy where everything is possible…

Levi Roots,  Patron

Levi Roots, Patron

About Levi >

Levi Roots is a patron of our young people and children’s programmes. Levi is the most successful entrepreneur to emerge from the popular Channel 4’s Dragon Den television programme and with strong support for his Reggae Reggae sauce from Peter Jones.

Today the Reggae Reggae brand is a product well known across the UK and Levi Roots is a TV personality, celebrity Chef and a Reggae musician with a new album! Levi runs a multi-million business. However, Levi Roots has not forgotten where all started and he is a Prince’s Trust Ambassador and supports their cooking programmes for young adults (which Food Academy delivers) and spends considerable part of his time giving inspiring talks on his journey to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds all over the country.