Free healthy cooking training for Southwark school chefs

Staff Reporter (22 March, 2021)

The programme is being trialled in Southwark, as one of the areas with the highest levels of childhood obesity


Kitchen staff at Southwark schools can get free training to cook more healthy food for school children, Kit Heren writes…

The training, which is being run by charity Chefs in Schools, gives kitchen staff the chance to learn about portion sizes and standards, as well as ways to encourage children to eat more healthily.

The qualification, called School Chef Educator, is available to people who are employed by schools and contractors.

Southwark and Lambeth schools have been chosen to trial the programme because of the area’s high level of childhood obesity, which can lead to health conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“Childhood obesity has become a national emergency – but one, that as a society, we can tackle,” said Yenny Chong, head of training at the charity.

“The school dining hall presents an amazing opportunity to foster an enjoyment of good food and to learn about healthier food choices. It is vital that school kitchen teams have the knowhow to serve food that is nutritious, balanced and in the right quantities, but at the moment there is no tailored training available for them.

“With the help of schools from Southwark and Lambeth, we can develop training that could help improve child health not just in these areas, but across the country.   

“The training on offer is free, tailored to school kitchen teams and will introduce small changes that could make a big difference to children’s lives.”

Chefs in Schools was founded by Henry Dimbleby, who wrote the National Food Strategy, Nicole Pisani, who was head chef at restaurant NOPI and Louise Nichols, executive head of three schools in Hackney.

The free programme runs over fourteen weeks at a minimum of two hours per week. It starts in September 2021. If the trial in Southwark and Lambeth goes well, it will be rolled out nationwide.

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