In a change to my normal lunch routine in the office canteen, I joined pupils from Muschamp Primary for a meal having watched three of them and three adults preparing salads, Ready Steady Cook style in their assembly with headteacher, Helen Underwood playing the role of Ainsley Harriott.
We were all there to launch National School Meals Week. This is a subject that has attracted a large amount of media coverage, mainly thanks to Jamie Oliver. The children seemed to respond well to the display and the addition of a salad bar to their lunchtime options.
Muschamp is close to Durand Close and the St Helier Estate and, is therefore a school that needs to take particular care over the diet and nutrition of their pupils. We discussed the fact that for many children, school lunch may be their main meal and so the choices of the Borough as central catering supplier were vital. I was really pleased to see that Muschamp had its own kitchen, enabling a wider range of options to be made available to the children. Not all schools have the room to do this. Many of the Jamie Oliver initiatives had already been introduced, but the extra priority brought to this matter by the Naked Chef’s efforts bring extra funding and resources which are always welcomed.
There were no major incidents. The food stayed in the correct receptacles despite vigorous mixing by one young contestant. Tom Brake MP fought back the urge to give a sabre dance as his chef’s hat came undone to make him more Cossack than Cook and I even got a sticker for eating all of my vegetables. I’m looking forward to a return visit to a school with a special atmosphere.