School pupils cook up a storm at Doncaster College

Doncaster College student chef Jessica Mycroft, 18,  helps a young pupil from Park Primary.
Doncaster College student chef Jessica Mycroft, 18, helps a young pupil from Park Primary.

Doncaster College has joined forces with Park Primary School to show children how to cook healthy dishes and have fun in the kitchen.

It was a timely development as, last month, the government published its review of school meals and set out its actions to challenge schools to double the number of children opting for school meals and to improve the quality of food.

The report writers, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, both restaurant owners said, “We need to ensure that children have the fuel they need in order to be happy and healthy and perform well at school.

“It means cooking food that is both appetising and nutritious.”

Gill Willis, the cook in charge at Park Primary, said: “It’s what I try and do at school and will continue to do and it’s about getting the children to understand that healthy means tasty and is good to eat and that healthy food is not difficult to produce.

“It can also be fun and easy to cook simple recipes. So bringing the children to college has been a very useful experience for them we hope to do it again soon.”

For several weeks children came into the college kitchens and were helped by catering staff and VRQ level 2 students to produce an array of food including fresh fruit kebabs and other healthy tasty morsels.

Gill, who is doing her Level 2 Professional Cookery at the College and was also on the School Feast programme, was also on hand to offer expert advice and help the youngsters.

With practical cooking becoming compulsory for every pupil from 2014, applying to every 7-14 year old and the government focusing on school meals, there is not a better time for children to have a go and pass on their learnt skills to their peers and family members.

Lisa Pyott, chef lecturer at the College, said, “We are passionate at Doncaster College Catering and Hospitality department about passing on skills and cooking healthier meals.

“It is vital we all work together as a community to improve the healthier meal options and break down the barriers that healthy food is boring, hard to produce or expensive.

“By involving everybody in cooking clubs we bring back fun and enjoyment in cooking. In this healthy cooking club it gave the children a chance to work and cook for their school cook!!

A fantastic time was had by all. “