'Food is more than what you eat.'
We work in close collaboration with our new catering company 'Palmer and Howells' to provide delicious, nutritious food for our pupils with a big dose of fun! They offer a good range of choices for all tastes including special dietary requirements. Here we interview the man in charge, Mr Williams....
Palmer and Howells recognise that 'food is more than what you eat'. Please can you tell us more about what you mean by this?
Good food always makes you happy. It can comfort you when you're not feeling well. Food creates conversation, whether it's in the classroom, canteen or at home with your family. It's a way of bringing everyone together.
How do you go about menu creation? Do the pupils ever get involved?
Menu creation for me is about the seasons. Spring is my favourite season as you have lots of lovely produce that you haven't seen through the darker winter months. Wild garlic is one of my favourites at this time of year. As far as pupils getting involved, we have comment cards on our counters for anyone to fill in. The pupils will often pop their heads through the kitchen door and tell us what they would like to see. Meatballs and spaghetti would be on every other day if they had their way!
How has it been settling into a new school and working environment?
Everyone has been really welcoming since I started here at Barfield. It has a real family feel to it. This is my first venture into school catering and I have to admit I'm used to a much larger kitchen!
How do you cater for children with different dietary requirements ?
When writing menus I try to come up with dishes that have very few allergens in them. If there is no way around allergens then, I try to make the special replacement dish very similar to the original. Just because someone can't eat something doesn't mean they should miss out on flavour. There is a great selection of 'free from' foods out there. I always try to find something new and exciting for the children.
We start food education from nursery age. How do Palmer and Howells approach this?
Palmer and Howells actively encourage us to do taster and theme days to promote new foods, superfoods and interesting foods. We had a successful St Patrick's Day and now I have settled in, we will be doing a lot more - watch this space!