The food and nutrition department at Brooke Weston Academy is always a hub of activity and food teacher Natasha Chiremba recently delivered an assembly on the pleasures of home cooking.
Mrs Chiremba told students: ‘I’d like to talk to you about the joy of cooking and why it is an important skill to learn with the hope of inspiring you to start, or continue cooking at home. I love teaching, learning, reading and talking about food and cherish the pleasure of cooking and enjoying home cooked meals. I believe it is one of the most important skills, due to its impact on your physical health and mental wellbeing.
‘The joy of sharing a feast, or even a simple meal, and the time spent cooking or eating together is wonderful. Many of my happiest memories are of spending time with family and friends around a table, eating, talking, listening and laughing. Cooking is fun, therapeutic and nutritious. It is good for your mind, body and soul. I encourage you to cook as much, and as often, as you can.’
She showed some of the dishes which Year 7 and 8 students have prepared at school from scratch, including gingerbread houses, fresh pasta and gourmet burgers. At GCSE level students studying Food, Preparation and Nutrition, progress to more advanced skills including butchery, fish filleting and creating a range of meals and canapes.
Most recently the Year 10 and 11s have been jointing and pan frying pheasant breasts and legs, adding ingredients including puy lentils, chantenay carrots, celeriac and pear puree, root vegetables, curly kale and mustard cream sauce to make a variety of restaurant quality dishes.
Mrs Chiremba said: ‘They were able to eat the finished dishes which means that they experienced food that they probably have never tried before. The birds were donated by the ‘Taste of Game’ initiative, which is all about trying to get people to eat more game as it is widely available and really good for you. As well as being tasty and quite low fat, it is very sustainable so it is good for the environment as well.’