Thistley Hough Academy is the only secondary school in Staffordshire to benefit from the series of practical classes which form part of the national ‘Adopt a School Scheme’, which aims to increase student knowledge on everything from food growing to healthy eating, nutrition, advanced practical cookery and careers within the food industry.
The scheme has been introduced by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, and professional chef John Whittle signed up to help deliver the project locally as he hopes it will improve the lifestyles of families across Stoke-on-Trent.
He said: “Teaching children about the food they eat and how to cook it is essential so they can make the right food choices. It is shocking how little some children and even adults know about food, however it is an essential life skill which can impact the rest of their lives once they leave school and become parents themselves. It also has a knock-on effect, as they then share that knowledge with parents and friends, ultimately improving the health of families throughout the region.”
"By understanding where food comes from and how easy it is to make delicious meals, I hope it will also encourage them to consider a career in the food industry in the future,” said John.
The academy students will also have the opportunity to visit Staffordshire University and experience how professional kitchens operate, as they will learn every aspect of healthy food preparation, from creating recipes to front of house skills and how to grow food from scratch.
Tracy Warrener, Head of Faculty for Food Studies and Child Development, said the scheme was a great experience for their Year 7 students and offered them a broad food education.
"We were delighted when John approached us to take part in the scheme, as it’s not only beneficial to the health of our students but also raises their awareness of potential careers in this sector,” said Tracey. “The students are really enjoying the classes, and so far they’ve covered topics like developing their taste, which is essential for any would-be chef, to how to behave in a restaurant and which cutlery you use.
"There are more sessions planned and it’s great as they’re able to form part of our regular food studies classes and help towards our drive as a school to encourage our students to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” added Tracey.