Recently Kerrymaid attended the EDUcatering Forum in London.

These events are always a joy to attend; we love meeting those who work in the education industry and we especially enjoy the incredible speakers that attend each time – here are a few that really stood out to us:

First up was Jason O’Rourke, the Head Teacher at Washingborough Academy who decided to chat to us about creating a food culture for your school. Jason instantly engaged the audience with his passion for the topic! After discovering that 1 in 5 children in reception are overweight or obese and that 1 in 3 kids struggle with the same issue by the time they get to year 6, Jason and his team decided that something needed to change within his school. The team assessed their current school meals, provided by an out-of-house caterer and decided that it would be best to take things into their own hands and completely re-educate the kids on not only fresh and healthy food but also how to prepare and cook it themselves.

The Food Glorious Food cooking scheme was introduced, teaching students cooking and technical skills and also linking this to other subjects, such as maths – scaling up or down the measurements of recipes and history. The school built a kitchen, specifically designed for children, planted maple trees, cherry trees and vegetable patches, installed a pizza oven and their very own beehive. Each year of students are responsible for their own vegetable patch and are taught

how to nurture, grow, prepare and cook the vegetables themselves – the children enjoy it so much that they often go home and teach their parents how to cook! They also host a farmers’ market each Saturday, where locals can sell their produce and the kids also sell goods that they have made, as well as their own honey from the beehive. Jason gave the audience a tonne of inspiration on how they could implement elements of the Food Glorious Food cooking scheme into their own schools, helping to raise the standards of school dinners across the nation.

Just before lunch we were lucky enough to experience a fantastic cooking demonstration by Chartwells, who strive to make ‘school food cool food.’ Chartwells have introduced The Creative Kitchen, which is an incredible concept of introducing global street food to school meals, using fresh, healthy and international flavours. The idea is to make food fun for kids, with bright colours and interesting crockery so that students want to try the food and are intrigued by how these unusual foods will taste. We were given some delicious samples, one of which was a vegetarian Vietnamese summer roll; it was delicious and full of so many different flavours. The Chartwells team gave the audience great insight into making food exciting, fun and interesting for students. Kids eat with their eyes and The Creative Kitchen is an excellent example of this!

Finally, we heard from Rachel Warwick, the founder of MakeLunch. After learning that many children rely on their schools for much more than education, Rachel decided that she needed to help as much as she could. Many families struggle to feed their children during the school holidays and parents often find themselves not eating so their children don’t go hungry. Rachel has created an incredible organisation that serves children with a free, nutritious hot meal each day during the summer break, which has quickly grown to more than 100 locations around England, Scotland and Wales. The charity sources donations from local business in order to produce the meals and often find the parents of the children volunteering to help prepare, cook and serve the lunches. Since starting in July the MakeLunch team have served over 50,000 meals to children across the country! This is such an amazing cause and something that we hope can continue to grow and succeed!

We had such a great time at the EDUcatering Forum, as well as the Care Home Catering Forum, which you can read about here. We are really looking forward to the next round of forums in November!