Bid to lure Jamie Oliver to Gong

Jamie Oliver, Wollongong wants you! And we are going to tweet, hashtag, like and share it until you give in.

Healthy Cities Illawarra is urging the community to back a social media campaign to bring Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food pop-up kitchen to the city.

If all goes to plan, Wollongong will host the Ministry kitchen for 12 months, offering residents the chance to learn where their food comes from and how to make tasty, nutritious food from scratch during hands-on cooking classes.

So far, the campaign - supported by Wollongong City Council, the University of Wollongong, Destination Wollongong and IRT Group - has attracted almost 2300 likes on its Facebook page as well as a thumbs-up from Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.

Attempts to draw attention to the city have been mixed.

The people from Chaplin Arts have offered to woo Jamie to the city with a song while others, such as IRT chief executive Nieves Murray, have tried to appeal to his competitive streak.

Director of the University of Wollongong's Global Challenges program, Professor Chris Gibson, said the community would benefit significantly if the campaign was successful.

"By empowering people to cook and consume food in a healthy way, and by drawing attention to our relationship with food, we can tackle basic problems such as nutrition and disease prevention," Prof Gibson said.

If Wollongong bags the opportunity to host Jamie's Ministry of Food, it will be the second successful social media coup the city has pulled off in recent times.

Last year, Wollongong beat six other Australian cities to host a two-day Social Media Tourism Symposium following a spirited social media campaign.

Show your support by tweeting #bringjamietothegong or visiting the Bring Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food to Wollongong Facebook page.

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