Blue Apple went ‘Back to Skool’ this month as Executive Chef David Belsey took lessons with years 9 and 10 food technology students at Emmbrook School, our local secondary in Wokingham.
Hospitality and catering is an often overlooked career choice and as part of our Green Apple community initiatives, David devised a fun and interactive lesson designed to engage interest and open up the possibilities of the kitchen to the youngsters.
To get the group talking, David started by asking each student their favourite meal and the — at first reluctant — group began to come alive with talk of macaroni cheese, spaghetti Bolognese and curries, but how would they be at identifying ingredients? Armed with a crate of fresh produce it was time to ‘guess the veg’ as the increasingly excited group were puzzled by purple sprouting broccoli, flummoxed by fennel and surprised by raw sugar cane. To make the lesson interactive and with David showing the correct way to slice each item, the class were encouraged to cut open the produce themselves. It sparked a flurry of questions from the group, with David explaining the kitchen hierarchy from kitchen porter to executive chef, his own career background (including cooking for Elton John — “who?” being the cry from one girl!) before the lesson moved on to the cooking itself.
With tutelage from David, class volunteers got to work on producing scaled down versions of his delicious fish pie recipe, which the rest of the class were invited to help ‘plate-up’ with a demonstration of how to make your plate look visually appealing. There was certainly some creativity amongst the group and no clean plates were left, impressive considering a number of the students had professed to not liking seafood!
The lesson ended as a huge success, with David’s enthusiasm proving infectious to the class. We even heard talk of a couple of students now considering becoming chefs as we packed up, too. Mission complete.