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Latest news from the classroom

Posted on October 23, 2013

Our Education Officer, Sally McGowan, updates you on her latest work with local schools......

This has been a busy month at The School of Artisan Food. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in two very different schools - Outwood Academy Portland in Worksop and The Acorn School in Lincoln. Portland Academy is a very calm, well-established mainstream school; Acorn Academy is a newly opened free school working with students who do not cope well with mainstream education. Working with both schools was a highly enjoyable experience with students showing engagement, polite manners and real subject knowledge.

At Portland Academy I spent two days with the Food GCSE students where we concentrated on dairy products. The first day was mid-month and we were experiencing one of the last days of summer sunshine, which was apt as it was ice-cream making. We spent the sessions analysing the ingredients used in commercial ice-creams and in homemade ice-creams. We developed our understanding of the ingredients used in commercial products and the roles they play in mass produced products. We then had the pleasure of looking at the science of salt and ice by making instant ice-cream using milk, cream and natural flavourings. The students (and staff) were amazed at not only how fast you make ice-cream by hand through the use of food bags and salt and ice but also the quality and variety of ice-cream produced. My next visit, 10 days later, concentrated on the use of eggs in products and the students made mini quiches from scratch. They produced their own short crust pastry before shaping and filling the quiches with lots of healthy, local produce. The quiches produced were really impressive and some students who thought they didn’t like quiche were converted to eating more real food. I then demonstrated how to make mayonnaise and talked about the way it differs from shop bought. None of the students had seen or tasted freshly made mayonnaise before, and most of them were struck by how little it resembled shop bought mayonnaise both in colour and taste. How many were converted to home-made mayonnaise was considerably lower than those converted to ice-cream!

I had the pleasure of spending a day at Acorn school baking bread with small groups of students. The students were really nice, polite and engaged, they showed a great ability to work collaboratively and all spoke highly of the school. During my time with the students we not only made, shaped and baked sweet or savoury breads but we also discussed the ingredients used in baking and the role bread plays in culture and the diet.

As well as these and other school visits I have had the pleasure to host our first Children’s Baking sessions here at The School Of Artisan Food during the half term holidays. These sessions are free of charge thanks to funding from Local Food and the National Lottery.

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