At Junior Chefs’ Academy, we’re always delighted to work with other organisations that share our passion for food education and healthy eating.
A recent collaboration that has really helped to get the Junior Chefs message out to a national audience has been our work with Tesco Extra. In 2013, the supermarket retailer launched a national competition for schools that encourages children to eat well and to live healthy, active lives. Our healthy eating workshops are offered as prizes, with runners up receiving sports gear and gardening kits with which pupils can grow their own vegetables.
Publicised by local newspapers across the country, the Eat Great Feel Great competition has enabled us to work in many new areas and to win many new friends. The every first prize session took place on 10th June at Shrubland Street Community Primary School in Warwick and that was quickly followed by similar workshops at Riverview Infant and Junior Schools in Kent.
Here are some of the comments that have followed.
“Wow!! What can we say! We had no idea what to expect, but this morning has been a fun packed food adventure. Activities were well paced and all children could learn, enjoy and eat healthily. Totally and utterly fruitastic!"
Mr David Farrar, Headteacher of Shrubland Street Community Primary School, Warwick
“The Junior Chefs’ Academy is an amazing organisation, putting children at the heart of the learning and what an experience for them! Our day was a hive of activity, all the tasks carefully focused and with an exciting level of competition which the children so enjoyed. As one Year 4 pupil said “It’s just like the “Chef’s Kitchen”’ on TV. My Mum never works this hard in her kitchen.” During their day with Junior Chefs, these eight year olds gained not only knowledge but a range of practical skills while having good fun too! You only need to look at the expressions on their faces to see the positive learning that is going on. They now know how to recognise fruits from all the continents and can rustle up a tropical fruit crunch for breakfast in seconds. Not only were the children truly inspired but so was our Catering Manager who couldn’t resist being an eight year old for the afternoon! It is without doubt quite the best Healthy Food workshop I have ever seen and the slick organisation of the two presenters made the whole day trouble free. I shall definitely book them again, but what shall I choose from their list of over 18 topics? I’d say it was the best thing since Tesco’s sliced bread! Thank you TESCO for sponsoring our first taste of Junior Chef’s Academy.”
Mrs Rosemary Dymond, Headteacher of Riverview Junior School, Gravesend
Numerous organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors have also been staunch supporters of our work in local communities. Below are listed just a few examples:
Sustainable Group (UK) Limited
Sustainable Group is a UK based building and property maintenance contractor that specialises in building services, construction and energy efficiency. Much of its work is focused upon improving living conditions for residents in local communities as a result of improving the quality of buildings and creating new training and employment opportunities for local people.
Over many years, the company has supported Junior Chefs’ Academy by sponsoring our community workshops and other activities designed to give children an early appreciation for healthy eating.
Part of the UK Fire and Rescue Service, Firefit promotes issues that relate to physical fitness and a wide range of health issues. Since diet and nutrition pay a bit part in this, Firefit has been an active sponsor of Junior Chefs’ Academy for a number of years, helping us to deliver food education sessions at community centres, summer schools and other public venues.
These are just two examples of some of the many private and public sector supporters with whom we have worked, but we are equally grateful to all the other companies, housing associations, local authorities and community groups that have supported us in recent years.
We are always very ready to support community health projects, initiatives and events. In 2012, for example, we were one of the attractions at the annual Health Mela in Preston – a multicultural community health extravaganza organised by the National Forum for Health & Wellbeing.
Supported by a number of NHS Trusts, local authorities and North West universities, the Health Mela is designed to improve awareness of the availability of public health services and to help people of different ethnicities to improve their lives by adopting healthier lifestyles. At the event, we held a series of workshops at which children of all ages produced healthy dishes and learned about the importance of a balanced diet.
Speaking after the event, the chief guest, Professor Adrian Davis OBE said: “I was very impressed by the great community involvement from the very young to the young at heart! The emphasis on healthy eating and nutrition was demonstrated at all levels. I particularly like the Junior Chefs’ Academy’s approach and was incredibly impressed by the young children and their native sense of what was good and bad in the nutritional sense. The active participation of the local population was a joy to see.”
In the course of our work we have also been supported by experienced food professionals such as:
Brian is an award winning Master Chef of Great Britain and former Head Chef at the BBC. Not only has he been a vocal supporter, he has also delivered a number of Junior Chefs sessions at North West schools.
Gary is a well respected celebrity chef, restaurateur and cookery writer who has gone out of his way to promote our work, particularly in our early days when we were making our name. He has also attended a number of our workshops.
Philippa is a food consultant, journalist and cookery school owner, and a great ambassador for the North West. As someone who clearly shares our views about the importance of education, she has attended a number of our school and community events and has featured us in a number of news features for the internet television channel, Lancashire One.