The promotion of healthy eating is a prominent feature of modern life and SIPS Catering fully embrace the philosophy through the ‘Mission : Nutrition’ initiative. Dawn Taylor, Operations Manager, explains
“SIPS Catering understand the responsibility to help children aspire to a balanced diet, therefore we recognise the need to help teach basic kitchen skills, to inspire young minds to cook with confidence, applying best practice techniques, developing a recipe repertoire, equipping to cook from fresh.”
The ‘Kid’s Kitchen’ is a structured programme to achieve just that. SIPS Catering work in close partnership with primary schools, interlinking with various parts of the curriculum, including Home Economics targeting Year 3 to 6, with pupils aged between 7 and 11 years old. Pupils receive their very own apron and work within a clean and welcoming environment complete with quality kitchen utensils to hand.
Michelle Poole, Area Catering Manager, describes a typical session.
“Over a dedicated period of approximately six weeks of lessons we explore the food groups, understanding key ingredients as the theory. This is perfectly complemented by practical application, through direction lead cooking, applying a combination of demonstrations and ‘learning by doing’, using pre-defined recipe cards. Cooking together promotes team work, concentration, reading skills and also comprehension all with a ‘can do’ fun atmosphere. The children get to reflect upon the dishes they have made, using their descriptive skills to articulate achievements. Often the food produced in the lesson forms pride of place at the dinner table when the pupils go home that evening.”
Savoury recipes include; ‘pasta salad’, ‘home baked bread’ and ‘loaded pizza’. Desserts comprise ‘chocolate and cherry muffins’, ‘fruit scones’ and ‘rocky road’. Each recipe card lists the ingredients and quantities and a step-by-step methodology. Upon completion, children understand responsible knife craft skills, they can recognise key ingredients and have direct experience in making ‘staple’ meals that can fuel attainment at school and beyond. Each child has a ‘graduation’ receiving a ‘Certificate of Attendance’ and perhaps more importantly, the pride and self-assurance that they can thrive in the kitchen, forming the foundations of a treasured life skill.
The programme has gone from strength-to-strength and is in its fourth year. SIPS Catering is invited into many schools, receiving positive feedback throughout. Mr Paul Newby, Head Teacher, at Brickhouse Primary School in Rowley Regis explains the value of the programme.
“SIPS serve up a delight, they dovetail into the curriculum, the Kid’s Kitchen helps develop self–assurance and knowledge. It’s a beacon of success in our school as a priority on the timetable.”