Archive | May 2013

WEP 090513

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Meet the chef behind the celebrities!

Millions love her cooking but they have probably never heard of her.

tiring: something that makes you tired

recipe: the instructions for cooking

brand: the commercial name of a product or company

self-employed: you work for yourself

juggles: to control many things at once (eg: balls)

jars: containers made of glass

to stack: to put one thing on top of another

freelance: to work for yourself

to whizz: to go quickly

Millions love her cooking but they have probably never heard of her. Jill Weatherburn is the woman who helps to bring to life the recipes of food companies and celebrity chefs.

But working with high-profile chefs is just a small part of Jill’s exciting, if tiring, job. She is also recipe developer and tester, food stylist, teacher and demonstrator. As well as TV chefs on shows like MasterChef, her clients include some of the world’s biggest brands, including Walkers, Hovis, and Sharwoods.

Self-employed for the past eight years, she built her business up from two or three days work to “not having enough time to do everything”. No two days are ever the same as Jill juggles photoshoots (many in her own dining room), visits to schools, food festivals and TV work. The variety, the pressure and the unpredictability are what she loves about her job.

Jill even tests kitchen appliances and foods for companies. There is no room for the car in the garage – it has been converted into a mini-kitchen and preparation area. Jars of dried ingredients and spices line the shelves, while food samples are stacked in boxes and cupboards. There’s even a retro SMEG fridge.

In the house, her kitchen, with its ultra-modern Neff appliances, is immaculate. “I’ve got a thing about keeping the kitchen clean and tidy,” Jill says. “It has to be spotless.”

After several jobs over the years testing recipes and teaching home economics, Jill, who lives in Gateshead, decided to go freelance. Living in the north of England might have been problematic in the past but the internet now means that location is not a problem.

She recently did a food styling assignment for Walkers Sunbites (wholegrain crispy snacks) where the photos were taken in her home “and the images whizzed over on email just a few hours later”.

There are many challenges in her job: “I had to come up with 36 recipes using crisps. Using crisps isn’t easy. But in the end I came up with lasagne using crisps instead of pasta sheets and lamb with onion and rosemary Sunbites crushed on top.”

Every recipe must be tried and tested many times. Usually, Jill ropes in her husband Ken and her children Nina, 16 and Finn, 11, as well as the neighbours. She admits she becomes very popular around these times.

Next time you watch a TV cookery show or try out a recipe, think about who was really in the kitchen. Maybe it was Jill!


Invest in a small blowtorch, it can be surprisingly useful.

Buy a potato ricer, it always produces smooth mashed potato.

Invest in good-quality knives and look after them well. Hand wash them and never put them in the dish washer.

Look for great local suppliers, especially of fresh meat and fish.

Always use up leftovers. Over ripe fruit can be used to make great ice cream!

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iLook, iThink, iSpeak – express yourself better

(Click on the image to download it)

Talking about famous people

Look at these different pictures. Talk about why these different people are famous. What did/do they do? Do you know them or not?

Discuss why you believe they should or shouldn’t be famous. How did they become famous in the first place? Who deserves most credit for what they have done? Should they receive some kind of reward?

Write it all in an email to your ECP coach (and record your voice!).

WEP 090513 iLook iThink iSpeak

WEP 020513

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

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First openly gay NBA player hopes to become role model

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black and I’m gay.”

center: a position in basketball – also known as ‘5’ or ‘post’ to come out: to explain that you are gay

retirement: when you stop working – typically when you are 65 years old

draft: the method used by North American professional leagues to select new players for their teams

to greet: to receive something such as news (also ‘to say hello’)

to support: to give help and encouragement

to be proud: to be very happy of and satisfied with a person’s actions

sin: an act considered immoral and against divine law LGBT: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black and I’m gay.” With these words, in an interview for Sports Illustrated,

Jason Collins, an NBA veteran who has played this season for the Washington Wizards, became the first openly gay male athlete who is still active in a major American team sport.

After coming out Collins said he hopes he can be a role model for youngsters. Other gay athletes in US professional leagues have waited until retirement to divulge their sexuality publicly.

The announcement followed the recent decision by women’s basketball player Brittney Griner to acknowledge that she is gay. Griner, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, will soon start her professional career.

Collins’s announcement was greeted with support from teammates, league executives and NBA stars. “Proud of @jasoncollins34,” wrote Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star, on his Twitter account. “Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others.” Bryant added two hashtags: “courage” and “support.”

However, one National Football League player, Mike Wallace of the Miami Dolphins, posted a comment on Twitter: “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys.” He later deleted the comment and issued an apology.

And on ESPN, the NBA analyst Chris Broussard, citing his religious beliefs, said that living openly as a homosexual was a sin and that doing so was “walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”

But those comments were greatly outweighed by the supportive ones Collins received. President Barack Obama called him to express his support. Speaking about Collins, Obama said: “He seems like a terrific young man. And I told him I’m really proud of him. One of the extraordinary measures of progress we’ve seen in the last few years has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality.”

Asked what his story could mean to children who play basketball but are worried because they are gay, Collins said: “It doesn’t matter that you’re gay. The key thing is that it’s about basketball. It’s about working hard, it’s about sacrificing for your team. It’s all about dedication. That’s what you should focus on.”

Read more about this story: collins-role-model-openly-gay nba-center-jason-collins-comes-out-as-gay.html 

Something to chat about

Do you know of any famous sports men or women who are openly gay?

What problems do you think gay people have that can prevent them from ‘coming out’? (in sport and in normal life)

How different was life for gay people in the past? Think about 20 and 50 years ago and also about ancient civilisations.

iLook, iThink, iSpeak – express yourself better

(Click on the image to download it)

Expressing identities

Look at these different pictures. Talk about how the different people are trying to express their identities

Discuss what you believe your identity is and what it is influenced by. Does it have many different facets? Do you feel strongly about it? How do you express it?

Write it all in an email to your ECP coach (and record your voice!).

WEP 020513 iLook iThink iSpeak

WEP 250413

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

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Your weekly English practice from English Coaching Projects