First Family Food Appreciation Workshops Hailed a Success

23/01/2014 12:01
The first Family Food Appreciation workshops to be run by the Craft Guild of Chefs and LACA have been hailed a resounding success, paving the way for the 2014 programme.

Blossomfield Infant and Nursery School in Solihull was the first of six UK schools to pilot the scheme from the fledgling partnership in early 2013, with professional chefs being invited into the school to teach children and parents cooking skills together.

The winter workshop focused on a host of seasonal ingredients, from beetroot, celeriac and Jerusalem artichoke to apples, pears and rhubarb. In terms of meat and fish and seafood, everything from guinea fowl and venison to clams and conger eels.

For the hands-on part of the workshop, children and parents got to roll up their sleeves and learn how to make shortbread, as well as sweet and savoury puff pastry turnovers. Some children even combined the two. Crucially, the children got to mix, knead and get messy.

Everyone went home with a goody bag from the day, sponsors goodies and fresh fruit and vegetables. There were also prizes for the children that worked the quickest, asked the most questions, and were the cleanest. In true Peter Pan spirit, the messiest were also rewarded.

Claire Hill, Blossomfield’s deputy head and on-site coordinator for Food For Life, said the workshop had raised the profile of cooking in school and improved parent partnership.

“At Blossomfield, we are working towards our silver Food For Life award and the workshop helps us to further develop our skills,” she said. “We are aware that many children don’t cook at home and we wanted to show them what cooking is about, that home cooked food is fun to make, easier than you think and tastes good. The children have been able to see, touch and learn about foods they may not otherwise experience.”

The secondary school workshops were also a huge success, said scheme co-ordinator Mark Rigby, who is a steering committee member on education for the Craft Guild of Chefs.

“They had a completely different feel and got quite competitive, which was interesting,” he said. “At the Oasis Academy in Brightstowe, the catering and food technology staff joined in and worked closely with us, enabling us to do more one to one training with the children and parents. We have had such good feedback from all the schools, which is a great feeling.”

Schools which become involved in the scheme are invited to run four Family Food Appreciation workshops throughout the year, a two-hour session to cover each season. Each workshop is led by a Craft Guild chef and can accommodate 10 pupils and a family member.

“Generally, children today don’t grow up with an appreciation of food, an understanding of where ingredients come from or a confidence in the kitchen,” said Mark. “We aim to change this through these workshops, using knowledge that us chefs can pass on.”

For more information on the workshops, log onto craftguildofchefs.org

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