Wellbeing

Reinventing school dinners: Student food never looked so delicious

Transforming lives one bite at a time

Now, don’t get us wrong, we have very fond memories of that chocolate sponge cake drenched in chocolate custard that only schools seemed to serve.

But every day? Nah.

We can’t expect kids to thrive, mentally and physically, if we’re not nourishing them and educating them on how nutrition can influence their wellbeing.

This is why we wish hard that Chefs in Schools existed when we were young!

[Credit: Chefs in Schools]

As the name suggests, they are literally chefs who work in schools.

Thanks to their culinary backgrounds, they bring expertise into the classroom to inspire young people to make smart choices and show that healthy eating can be fun.

The brainchild of Nicole Pisani, she quit her job as head chef at top London restaurant, Soho’s Nopi, to become a school chef at Gayhurst Community School in Hackney.

Chatting about the unconventional role switch, Nicole said she had lost her passion for food in the corporate world and wanted to reconnect with her fondness for it.

[Credit: Chefs in Schools]

Nicole said: “The reason I fell in love with food was to see people enjoy it and to feel like you’re connecting with someone because you’ve cooked for them.

“But the longer you spend in restaurants, the less of that good feeling you get.”

She continued: “Cooking with children is what I love most. You turn into a five-year-old yourself. It’s hard not to be happy.

“They’re literally excited about grating cheese. They love going up and down the grater.”

[Credit: Chefs in Schools]

What began as a mission to encourage children in socially deprived areas to have access to good food, has now bloomed into a project with trained chefs in 44 schools across the UK.

Today, Chefs in Schools strive to deliver clean, healthy, inexpensive, and mind-opening food, enabling schools around the country to follow their lead.

They do this by sending a team of chef trainers who go from school to school showing kitchen staff how to cook and serve up nutritious meals made from scratch, so it’s out with processed ingredients while responsibly sourced fresh and seasonal produce are in.

[Credit: Chefs in Schools]

Nicole and her squad also help schools design menus, support them to learn the dishes and help from afar once they are up and running.

Last but not least, they recruit chefs for schools, helping foodies make the transition from professional kitchens to a busy canteen.

The crew are also passionate about fighting the obesity crisis, with diet-related disease costing the NHS £6billion a year, and believe knowledge is power.

As Nicole put perfectly: “Food can either be medicine or it can be poison. It’s our choice.”

For more info, click here: Chefs in Schools.

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