Looking back I realise I have always been someone who wishes to feed people. I have worked in restaurants for the most part of my life now but I have been happiest cooking for the homeless, for orphans, nuns or Zen monks. I am also someone who really loves a challenge. In those moments when I feel the new challenge is near to impossible I always follow it with remembering that we all have to grow and by doing something new, you will always grow. This was the main pull factor for me to leave the restaurant industry and take up a school chef position in Hackney.
LEARN, GROW, EAT
I’ve noticed that as soon as we talk to the children about where their food comes from, they are so much more likely to want to give it a try. For example, we had a rice farmer visit from Japan who talked to the children during assembly and served rice the next day. We are in the early days of creating our edible garden, and in the meantime have grown mushrooms in the classrooms and put pots of growing herbs on the tables during lunchtimes. I would like to include some of these projects that parents, carers, teachers and chefs can all be involved in with children, to grow, learn, share and cook together. I’m biased, but I think food is an amazing way in to education.
And when the children are interested in what they are eating, they are less likely to throw it under the table.