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Cooking for One or Two program

The Department of Veterans' Affairs' Cooking for One or Two program (the program) was originally designed for male veterans, aged 65 years and over, with limited cooking skills, who found themselves living alone or cooking for themselves and their partner. The program has evolved since its introduction in 2000, broadening its scope and audience to enable any Australian community group or individual to access the program and the accompanying resources.

Developed in consultation with nutritionists and DVA's Dietician, the program aims to improve the quality of life for participants and their families by providing lessons in basic cooking skills and nutrition and to promote the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices — in an environment of positive social engagement.

The program is designed to be delivered to small groups, in five sessions. If followed strictly, each session will take approximately two-and-a-half hours to deliver. However, the resources can also be tailored and delivered to suit the needs of any group of people, veterans and general community members alike. It can even be tailored for family groups, so kids can enjoy learning new skills alongside their parents.

Running the program


While there are no mandatory skills required to run the program, it is recommended facilitators have intermediate cooking skills, a sound understanding of food hygiene and some basic knowledge of nutrition principles. Experience in working with or instructing small groups would be advantageous. Having the support of an assistant with basic skills and knowledge in these areas would also be useful, particularly if the group size is larger than eight or ten.

Facilitator manual*

The Facilitator manual has been designed to give you all the information needed to set up and run Cooking for One or Two classes. It includes:

  • Tips for selecting a venue
  • Equipment and utensils needed
  • Shopping lists
  • Menu cards with step by step instructions
  • Evaluating the success of the program

The Facilitator manual is presented in seven sections in a printable Word document format. A PowerPoint presentation has also been prepared to assist in delivering each of the five cooking sessions.

Financial support

There may be some limited financial support available for any ex-service organisation or community group conducting a Cooking for One or Two program targeted at veteran community members, including current and former Australian Defence Force members.

Speak with your local Veterans' Access Network office to find out what support may be available.


Recipes for Life

The Recipes for Life cookbook contains 45 nutritious recipes and health tips and is aimed at people aged 65 years or over.

Developed in response to early feedback from program participants, it includes even more nutritious recipes that are easy to prepare, using readily available ingredients, and taste delicious.

Recipes for Life promotes fun, while taking care of your health.


The Masterclasses are designed for graduates of the Cooking for One or Two program wishing to further develop and enhance their cooking skills.

If delivered in a group setting, each masterclass comprises two sessions in which group members cook an easy, quick and nourishing two course meal, progressively building their repertoire of recipes and skills. Alternatively, the recipes can be used in any sequence that suits the needs of the group.

The following resources include a PowerPoint (PPT) presentations to assist Facilitators to lead a group through the menu plan:

Nutrition links

Australian and state government

Cooking websites

  • — Extensive site with recipes and meals to suit individual preferences. Also a wide selection of recipes for cooking for one or two and 'how to' videos which include tips such as: microwaving vegetables, steaming food, preparing the perfect pasta and many more!
  • Food Network — Contains recipes, links and a section on cooking for two.
  • Senior Chef — New Zealand site with a focus on cooking for one or two.

Related information

*These resources are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may copy and redistribute the material and modify the content for any purpose. However In agreeing to the terms of this license you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

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