How well do we feed the next generation?
At Quattro Foods we pride ourselves not only on being one of the UK’s leading food service providers but also on being socially conscious, ethically aware, sustainable and caring about those around us, in our Portsmouth seaside community and beyond.
Children are the future generation of leaders and nowhere is their wellbeing more important than at school, where they spend three quarters of their life. What you eat is what you are – so let’s start teaching them young. As a leading food manufacturer Quattro Foods supplies parts of the Education sector and is responsible for a proportion of the food that finds itself in school dining rooms. From sauces to puddings, we shoulder a share of the responsibility for the fare that fuels our future.
It’s no secret that a nutritious school lunch impacts learning and improves grades. We all aspire to build a generation of healthy kids and our school food and menu development is designed with celebrity chef and healthy eating campaigner Jamie Oliver’s lauded and proven recommendations in mind.
Our involvement in the education space is a source of great pride at Quattro HQ and has a profound impact largely due to the skills and experience of our talented development chef Tony Hancock. Tony was instrumental in driving menu changes throughout the education sector in light of Jamie Oliver’s famed ‘turkey twizzler’ campaign, which led to twizzlers being turned into 100% meat goujons.
We bring you an exclusive interview with Tony, who talks about how he developed the refreshed schools menu and why the changes were so important.
Q. What action did you take in response to the Jamie Oliver ‘turkey twizzlers’ investigation findings?
A. I worked for Compass Group as the Executive chef for State Schools, developing the journey to good health recipe book for secondary schools and menus and recipes for primary schools based on a new set of guidelines.
Q. Tell us about the project.
A. It was a tough yet rewarding challenge that included core menus and retail products on point with food trends. Much time was spent in the development kitchen and in school kitchens working with staff to re-educate them, as well as working with them closely on their experiences and menu ideas.
Q. Did you face any opposition to the changes?
A. There was of course some reluctance from the old fashioned dinner lady, but they usually turned it around and came up with excellent ideas.
Q. Were you obliged to retain traditional English fare in schools?
A. Absolutely not. There were requirements to achieve the same nationwide results for the contracts with schools populated with diverse cultures, so it was great to work with cooks and menu ideas from different backgrounds and cultures.
Q. What were the results of the campaign?
A. The turkey twizzlers turned into 100% meat goujons, amongst other menu items such as stir fries and wraps with some chefs’ theatre attached. It was all great fun and the pupils bought into it quite quickly, especially when we involved them in tasting panels!
Q. Did you work with interesting companies during the project?
A. I got to work with Brighton and Hove City Council and Momma Cherri’s Soul Shack (made famous on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares!) on a Caribbean offering.
‘What Works Well’ Recipe Hub
Other organisations are also tackling the issue. The ‘What Works Well’ Recipe Hub has been developed by The School Food Plan supported by Public Health England to bring together over 100 recipes for pupils’ favourite meals and snacks that can be accessed by school kitchen staff. Each recipe has been checked against the School Food Standards, best practice guidance and recommended typical portion sizes. The interactive PDF is a creative and engaging tool for anyone interested in what their kids should and could be eating at school.
And to inspire you further, the lovely staff at Quattro Foods are offering you ideas for recipes for school lunches that can be made at home or that you can recommend to your school cook:
You will need:
- 170g potatoes
- 100g fresh salmon
- 1 cup milk
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- Half cup breadcrumbs
Boil the potatoes until soft, drain and mash. Cook the fish in the milk and mix with the potatoes and add the fried onion. Mix everything together with the mayonnaise. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Divide into balls, roll in breadcrumbs and bake on a tray in the oven for half an hour at 200°c.
You will need:
- 300g plain flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 100g cheddar cheese
- 75g butter
- Half tsp mustard powder
- 1 cup water
Sieve the flour, mustard and baking powder together. Rub in the butter, add the grated cheese and then the water until the mix comes together in a soft ball. Roll out the mixture and cut into the shape of scones. Brush with milk and bake at 180°c for 18 minutes.
You will need:
- 1 white cabbage
- 4 carrots
- 1 onion
- 200ml crème fraiche
- half tsp dried mustard
Shred the cabbage, peel and grate the onion and carrot. Mix the mustard powder into the crème fraiche and mix all the ingredients together.
You will need:
- 250g plain flour
- 115g butter
- 115g sugar
- 6 fresh apples
Mix the butter into the flour and sugar to make the crumble topping. Place the fruit in the bottom of the oven dish and cover with the crumble mix. Bake at 190°C for 25 minutes.
You can read our recent post on nutrition in schools here