Nicole Pisani CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE HEAD CHEF of CHEFS IN SCHOOLS Tells Us Why We Need to Embrace Their Scheme!

Their mantra is clear:WHAT WE DO – We fuel the future by transforming school food and food education, training kitchen teams to serve great school lunches.

Chefs in Schools is quite simply, inspirational.

While writing the School Food Plan for the UK Government, Henry Dimbleby posted a tweet asking whether any chefs would be interested in taking over the kitchen at his children’s state school. Nicole Pisani – then head chef at the acclaimed Soho restaurant NOPI – decided to take the gamble of a lifetime, applied and was offered the job by the school’s then head, Louise Nichols.

Nicole retrained the school cooks using the restaurant brigade system, teaching them to cook everything from scratch and to bake bread daily. She also encouraged them to cook their favourite recipes. Nicole took charge of the cooking curriculum, teaching the children to butcher whole chickens and cook over fire pits in the playground. This work became the model for Chefs in Schools and they now work to help other schools completely transform the standards of school food and food education.

They reach over 20,000 (and counting) kids every school day. Their work started in London but is slowly expanding across the country. They are always looking for people who share their vision and passion about fueling the future well. We want to use the Beanstalk platforms to shout about Chefs in Schools and for us all to learn from the brilliant Nicole Pisani.

She is the Co-founder and Executive Chef and described as their all-round whirlwind! Always coming up with ideas of what they can try next and (officially) terrible at saying no to everyone else’s hair-brained schemes – so the owner of the fullest diary and longest to-do list. But somehow squeezes it all in and is still always happy to take time out and cook for people. As a professional trained chef, she has worked at Yotam Ottolenghi’s NOPI and Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry.

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And what do people say about Chefs In Schools?!

Prue Leith said: “I support this campaign with all my heart. Schools can offer a fantastic opportunity to teach children to cook and eat good food that will set them up for life.”

Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Chefs in Schools and author of the National Food Strategy, said: “We have an obesity crisis in this country, although you can’t fix everything with school food, you have such a vital time to intervene in how children interact with food so if you can teach them through the food they eat in the dining hall, you have an opportunity to shape their eating habits for life.

In many school kitchens, there are staff interested in food who want to cook it – we’re saying to schools – sign up to the charter and give your kitchen teams the training and freedom to make great school food from scratch that will fuel the future well.”

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