Ten of our school cooks recently attended the first day of their School Chef Educator Qualification at the Hackney School of Food. Our Food Development Trainer Lisa Morris joined them and here is her account of the course.
When we arrived at the Hackney School of Food we were introduced to the founder of Chefs in Schools Nicole Pisani. The school is an amazing place to visit as there is a fantastic allotment on site with plenty of fruit and vegetables and chickens supplying fresh eggs. The local school children all plant and use the allotment as well to learn skills using the fresh produce. We were all able to go outside and forage for all the home-grown fruit and vegetables which we then used in the lunch we prepared.
When preparing the lunch, I was able to see how our staff all had their own individual ideas to make their dish the very best, using different spices and flavourings.
It was a great exercise to see how the staff used their knife skills and knowledge of presentation when finishing a dish, which will now be reflected when they are preparing and presenting their school lunches. These skills can be shared also when training others in their kitchens.
It was great to talk to them about upcoming projects that will be going on and how they put their own stamp on cooking for their own schools.
The course also gave me the opportunity to chat with the staff to let them know all about upcoming theme day events, which got them all buzzing as they know they can upload their photos of these events to show what an amazing job they all do in the kitchens.
In addition to this date at the school, the School Chef Educator Qualification course involves modules supplied by Yenny Chong, Head of Training for Chefs in Schools, which they will complete while still doing their day to day work over three months. They will have the support of instructors who they can speak to on a daily basis for support in finishing each required section.
Our staff were excited to know that they will receive diplomas in a ceremony at the end of the course, knowing that they had proved themselves with their skills as school cooks and that they are recognised for the great work they all do in feeding children with freshly prepared healthy meals.
My own perspective of the day was that it was great to see friendly competition between them all, which brought out the very best in all of them!
Lisa Morris, Food Development Trainer
Our ten colleagues who are completing this qualification are just the first group doing this course, highlighting BD Group’s commitment to continually improving the service we provide our schools and children, and developing the skills and knowledge of our teams.