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Tesco survey: Chinese stir fry is the most well-known dish Brits know how to cook from scratch

  • New study from Tesco reveals top 5 well-known recipes Brits can cook from scratch without the aid of a recipe, with quick and easy weekday favourite the stir fry coming out on top and Spaghetti Bolognese a close second
  • Study also reveals more than half of UK adults (54%) know how to cook just five or fewer dishes without resorting to looking up a recipe
  • As many as one in eight would not be confident cooking an omelette without consulting a recipe, while almost a third (31%) cook a new recipe just once a year or less frequently

CHESHUNT, England, 2015-7-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — A new survey commissioned by Tesco into Brits’ cooking habits has found the humble Chinese stir fry is the most well-known dish people know how to cook from scratch, with 81% of people knowing how to cook one without having to resort to a recipe book.

Spaghetti Bolognese came a close second with 80% knowing how to cook the Italian classic, while 77% of people can cook a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner unaided, bringing the British favourite home in third place.

The survey was commissioned to launch a new online cooking series, Let’s Cookalong, delivered by the Tesco eat Happy Project in partnership with the Children’s Food Trust. The research, conducted with 2,000 people around the country, looked into aspects of our kitchen habits from the recipes we do and don’t feel confident cooking from scratch to how we learn new recipes, what inspires us and how our children are learning to cook.

The research found more than half of UK adults (54%) have committed just five or fewer recipes to memory and a similar proportion (51%) say they roll these out on a weekly basis, if not more often.  As many as one in eight would not be confident cooking an omelette without consulting a recipe, while almost a third (31%) cook a new recipe just once a year or less frequently.

Let’s Cookalong will help boost the culinary knowledge of parents and children throughout the summer as new videos which are added to YouTube each week. Parents and their children will be able to follow a chef cook a variety of child-friendly recipes and meal ideas, starting with picnic-themed recipes  and moving on to Moroccan, Barbeque and Indian in the coming weeks.


Josh Hardie, Group CR Director at Tesco, speaking on behalf of the Eat Happy Project said:

“We know families around the country love to cook together, which is really important because children that grow up learning to cook and eat healthily go on to lead healthier lives.

 “Trying a new recipe can seem daunting but tasty, healthy meals needn’t be complicated or need lots of expensive ingredients – this is the inspiration behind our new Let’s Cookalong summer series and we want as many families as possible to take part this summer.”


Linda Cregan, CEO of the Children’s Food Trust said:

“If we want our children to take a greater interest in food and eat more healthily it is important to keep mealtimes varied.  This not only makes food more interesting to them but also varies the nutrients they eat, gives them a more diverse palate and helps them be braver with their food choices.”
The top five meals survey respondents said they were confident or very confident cooking without a recipe were:

  1. Stir Fry (81%)
  2. Spaghetti Bolognese (80%)
  3. Sunday roast (77%)
  4. Cottage/shepherd’s pie (74%)
  5. Beef casserole (68%)

The survey found many of these recipes were passed down from our mothers; half of all women (51%) learned the recipes they do know from their mum, while only one in 20 of us (5%) picked them up from our fathers.  This is a trend which looks likely to shift in the future with a third of dads polled (33%) saying they would like their children to learn how to cook from them. It seems that cooking together is becoming a family pastime as a quarter of parents (25%) with children aged between 6 – 10 say they cook together all the time while almost half (49%) do so occasionally.

The survey also revealed the real variety in cooking habits across the UK:

  • Almost a third of those from Edinburgh claim to have committed 10 or more recipes to memory, by far the highest proportion of any UK city
  • Liverpudlians proved to be the most experimental cooks with 8% saying they cook new recipes every week, higher than the national average of 5%
  • Belfast parents are the most diligent at cooking with their children, narrowly beating out Newcastle, with almost one in five saying they do so all the time
  • The cooks of Norwich appear to be the most frugal with the highest proportion citing trying to save money as a key inspiration for learning new recipes


For more information, please contact: Hannah Stewart on or call 020 7380 8030 / 07931 775628



  • Sign up for free to receive weekly updates letting you know when new recipe videos become available, enabling you to plan ahead.


The Tesco Eat Happy Project is a long-term commitment to help 4 – 11 year olds have a healthier and happier relationship with food. Tesco believes that if children understand more about food and where it comes from, they can make better decisions about what they put on their plates when they grow up.

Tesco’s ambition is to give every primary school-aged child in the UK the opportunity to go on Farm to Fork Trails, Online Field Trips and Let’s Cook courses, to support their syllabus in learning about food and nutrition. All are free and open to every 4 – 11 year old in the country.

  • Farm to Fork Trails offer interactive, educational fun at over 770 Tesco stores and more than 170 Supplier Partner’s farms and factories. Children learn how to bake bread rolls, taste new foods or see how cows are milked. The trails are based across the country and Tesco contribute towards transport costs.
  • Online Field Trips broadcast live from farms and factories across the globe. Children use technology in the classroom to stand in a muddy field and discover where the food on their plates comes from, without needing to pull on their wellies. They can chat to real growers and producers using Google+ Hangouts.
  • Free, downloadable resources are developed with teachers and nutrition experts to be age-appropriate and linked to the national curriculum. They include lesson plans, recipes, videos and activities, and span all subjects so that teachers can add a healthy eating theme to any lesson.
  • Let’s Cook courses, run in partnership with the Children’s Food Trust, aim to give children the skills and passion to cook and eat healthily. Children take away an apron and healthy recipes to help them continue cooking at home.

The Tesco Eat Happy Project launched in March 2014 and has now seen over 890,000 children find out where their food comes from, as well as how to cook nutritious meals through participation in Farm to Fork Trails, Online Field Trips and Let’s Cook courses.

To understand more about The Tesco Eat Happy Project, please visit  or tweet us on @EatHappyProject

The Children’s Food Trust is a national charity on a mission to get every child eating better: at home, in childcare, at school and beyond. Follow us on Twitter@childfoodtrust and like us on Facebook. Registered charity number 1118995


For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on 01992 644645
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