What is Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria?
The Fleetwood Young Chef of the Year challenge was presented by Healthier Fleetwood as part of their wider aim to improve the long-term wellbeing of residents. Dr Mark Spencer, a GP at the Mountview Practice and a leading member of Healthier Fleetwood explains the idea behind the competition. “Cooking is great fun and brings families and friends together. Getting children interested in cooking and improving their nutritional knowledge is a great initiative.”
All the Primary schools across the Town took part, nearly 400 Year 5 students taking up the challenge of designing a ‘Meal for their Hero’ of soup, main course, dessert and drink for under £10. Along the way the children learnt chef skills, seasonality, cooking methods, food hygiene and safety, where food comes from and healthy diets. The teaching also crossed over into other areas of the curriculum such as English, Science, Maths, Geography, ICT and Art and Design.
The resources for the challenge were coordinated by Katharine Tate, aka The Food Teacher, and her team. She adds, “Teaching children the importance of food for their health is essential and this challenge provides that opportunity within a purposeful and engaging context.”
After the classroom element of the challenge came the finals held at local restaurant Twelve (as seen in the video). Each school sent forward a student to prepare their meal for the judges. The results not only looked and tasted amazing but all concerned agreed that the young chefs were a credit to their families and their schools by their behaviour and willingness to learn. Head judge was Executive Chef of the Grove Hotel Resort in Hertfordshire, Harry Lomas MBE, a Lancashire-born lad himself.
Harry has catered at many high-profile events including for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and he said, “The standard was incredible. It was great working alongside and seeing what the youngsters produced, in fact several of the dishes were so good I would put them on one of my menus tomorrow.”
The presentation to the winner, Alfie Hall, from Shakespeare School in Fleetwood, was made at a special celebration lunch for all the finalists and their families at Fleetwood Town Football Club.
Healthier Fleetwood will present the Young Chef of the Year Challenge again in 2018 and the format has proved to be popular with schools from across the country interested in getting involved in their own version.
Watch this space for a future Gordon Ramsey or Mary Berry!