The pupils of Rowan Preparatory School in Claygate, Surrey learned a mouth-watering lesson during a visit from ARAMARK's chef Julie Frost – that healthy food can come in quite delicious packages.
At a celebration assembly themed around sleepovers, Julie demonstrated how to make some simple healthy snacks – delicious alternatives to the usual fare of pizza and popcorn.
This was the second invitation to the school for Julie, who is Executive Development Chef for Education at ARAMARK, one of the UK's largest food and hospitality services providers. Last October, Julie showed the children just how exciting our home grown produce is, during an interactive session to celebrate British Food Fortnight.
The girls, aged eight to eleven, were no less enraptured this time, and joined in with creating treats such as fruit kebabs drizzled with honey, layered yogurt muesli and red berry fruit pots, and colourful salads with peppers, sweetcorn, carrots and cucumber topped with cold meat or fresh fish.
Every snack that Julie made was greeted with gasps of approval, and when she asked for volunteers all hands in the room shot up.
'It was really good fun,' said Julie. ‘The girls are so enthusiastic – they just want to get involved. This wasn't about me coming in and saying 'I'm a chef, here's what I can do' – it was about showing them that they can do it.'
Sarah Meadows, Deputy Head, said: 'It was so rewarding seeing the girls enjoying these sessions in such a practical, hands-on way. Children are constantly bombarded with information about healthy eating – having professionals like Julie coming in and getting them excited about creating healthy delicious food teaches them much more than if I stood at the front of the hall and lectured them.
'The day sent out two valuable messages – one, that basic cooking skills are simple and enormous fun. Two, that a healthy diet isn't about starving oneself and being a size zero supermodel – it’s about balance and enjoyment.'
Earlier in the assembly the girls had staged a fundraiser where they paid 50p to wear their nightclothes and join a Pyjama Catwalk – with the proceeds going to children’s charity Childline.
Simon Holburn, ARAMARK's Commercial Projects Director, said: 'As a business we have a responsibility to provide healthy, delicious food and that extends to teaching people all about the joys and benefits of eating well. We're launching a programme to build more links with our communities, especially in our education division – children respond well to this kind of interactive work, and we’re looking to harness more of the kind of magic we’ve seen here today in our other units.
'A further benefit is that, hopefully, some of the girls here today will become interested in joining our industry too.'
One Year 6 pupil said: 'It was great fun, we all loved the food, especially the fruit kebabs. I’ll definitely use some of these ideas next time I have a sleepover.back