Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust seeks chefs and former teachers to help with schools’ work
A FOOD education charity is desperately seeking chefs and former teachers to run cookery workshops and courses in schools across Christchurch.
The Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust (CFFET) has been providing food education and guidance on nutritional health since it was founded 15 years ago, but it was forced to pull out of schools when the pandemic hit.
The workshops are back up and running in some primary schools, but the trust wants to support as many schools in the town as it can, including secondaries.
“These are paid positions, and we offer flexible, part-time work in school hours,” said CFFET’s education co-ordinator, Mary Reader.
“The work really wouldn’t be onerous, and would suit somebody looking for a few extra days work in a year. We’re seeking former teachers with an interest in food, those with a background in nutrition, former school cooks, or chefs.”
Mary said those chefs who used to give their time before Covid, including Colin Nash and Ian Hewitt, now had full time positions or had set up their own businesses.
“We have the funds – we’re better off than we’ve ever been,” said Mary. “But we’re struggling to find people who can give us the help we need and we’re really desperate.
“We’ve had schools contacting us and appealing for us to go back, and the head of The Grange has told us they don’t have a food teacher so we want to see if we can help them.”
The work of the trust is “invaluable” to schools and the pupils they teach, said Mary, because it teaches healthy habits and builds children’s confidence around food.
“We come across so many children who are frightened of food,” she said. “We help them to make better choices so they can be healthy and active.
“We encourage them to eat more vegetables and introduce them to fish – and I’m not talking about the type covered in batter.
“We give children confidence within a setting where often their peers will encourage them to try a wider range of foods. We will hear from teachers who are in disbelief that certain pupils have tried foods they would otherwise never have tried.
“After our courses, children have insisted they go to the supermarket on the way home to pick up ingredients to recreate a dish at home, armed with a recipe leaflet we have given them.”
Mary continued: “We also instill good manners and teach kids how to eat properly and how to use knives safely.
“The feedback from the schools we work in is that the support we provide is invaluable. We support the curriculum and teach skills that these schools aren’t always in a position to be able to teach themselves.
“This is an opportunity for local chefs to give something back to their profession and support CFFET by helping to educate local students. Chefs who have worked with us always say how enjoyable and rewarding the work is.
“Our perfect candidate will be enthusiastic and someone who would love to inspire the next generation by passing on their knowledge of food and food preparation.
“They will work with a CFFET team helping to develop the courses and recipes suitable for different age groups, then presenting them in school.”
For more information or to apply for one of the roles, contact Mary by calling 01425 837961.
For details on the trust, visit: www.cffet.org.uk