A ROSYTH woman is cooking up inspiration after the cost-of-living crisis led her to a career change.

Karen Dorrat, originally from Northern Ireland but now living in Rosyth, went back to school so she could become a home economics teacher after her role at a community food charity saw her handing out emergency food provisions during the lockdown.

She graduated last month with a Professional Graduate Degree in Education from Queen Margaret University and will soon be heading off for her probationary year at Levenmouth Academy in Buckhaven.

Karen said: “Food is at the heart of the higher education curriculum but is actually a fantastic tool for educating in all manner of subjects.

“I would like to see all teachers using it in their classes. However, what is so exciting about home economics is how it delivers everyday, essential life skills, whilst also addressing worldwide issues – from the politics of what is on our plate, to how we help people and the planet thrive.

“As the challenges of sustainable living become more pressing, the subject is more relevant than ever, and I love that we can play a part in sharing that in schools.”

Karen has spent years campaigning and advocating on food issues but she believes that the key to improving our food system is in educating our young people.

“It’s about more than simply teaching someone to cook – it’s everything from food literacy and learning how to enjoy our food, to understanding the links between our food and our health, and how our food choices affect the environment.

“They will learn the fundamental skills of producing nourishing food for themselves and their families, no matter their financial situation.

“But more than that, they will learn to be creative, develop literacy and budgeting skills, and become more independent.

“There are many misconceptions of what home economics is but the curriculum is actually very flexible and innovative, and learners can choose to follow food technology, fashion and textiles, childcare, or even bakery or barista routes.”

Initially having a degree in Applied Food Science, she worked originally as a sensory scientist and took some part-time roles in further education but it wasn’t until she worked as a project manager for a charity, that grew and shared local food while educating the community, and saw first-hand the inequalities in Scotland while handing out emergency food during the pandemic, that she saw the need for improved food education.

Karen and her family celebrated her success at Usher Hall in Edinburgh last month, and was overjoyed to make it to the ceremony as she was recovering from a hip replacement at the time.

Speaking on her time at QMU, she said: “QMU is a very caring environment and there is a culture of being aware of the importance of wellbeing, which then helps you to focus on your studies.”