Tom Kerridge goes back to school for a full time meals takeover

Chartwells X Kerridge 4

Pupils and staff at Torridon Primary School in Lewisham, London, were treated to a surprise celebrity visitor recently, as Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kerridge, dropped in to take part in a fun food workshop as part of his ‘Full Time Meals’ campaign.

Marking the next step on the campaign’s aim to end child poverty, we have partnered with Full Time Meals to host a series of school takeovers across the country, with the aim to get children engaged and excited about eating food.

As part of his role for the day, Kerridge treated the children to an assembly to remember, before putting his cookery skills to the test in a cook off against the school’s popular chef, Raheem, in front of a lively and excitable crowd of Year 5 and 6 pupils.

After being cheered on by the energetic supporters, both teams were supported by some little helpers, while the onlooking pupils learned about nutrition in a fun and engaging way. The panel of judges, including pupils and teachers, judged the close contests both in Raheem’s favour, taking a 2-0 victory over Tom.

Kerridge then took to the canteen to cook lunch with the kitchen team, serving up Mexican style chicken, carrot and courgette spaghetti, and tortilla pizzas, using Full Time Meals recipes. The food, which was universally provided free of charge, went down a storm, with one child saying. “I was impressed by how flavoursome and colourful the food was, it tasted amazing!”

At the end of the day, our catering team met with parents during pick up time, giving out bags of ingredients, supplied by M&S Food, and a Full Time Meals recipe card to replicate the carrot and courgette spaghetti dish at home that evening.

Tom Kerridge said: “We’ve had a fantastic day, filled with fun and laughter – that’s what cooking is all about. Food is a powerful tool to bring people and families together, as well as being vitally important to fuelling fun and learning. No punches are pulled when getting feedback from children, so it was great to see the dishes we serve go down a storm.

“Too often school food gets a bad reputation. Raheem and the team at Torridon are unsung heroes that truly care about the children they serve. With the cost-of-living crisis, the school food system is a fantastic way to feed the vulnerable children who are slipping through the cracks. Data shows that 800,000 children living in poverty do not qualify for free school meals, this needs to be addressed with the extension of free school meals provided to every child who is on Universal Credit.”

Manda George, Head Teacher, Torridon Primary School said: “We were so excited to have Tom visiting Torridon this week.  It was amazing to see him engaging with the children and our fantastic Chartwells kitchen team, led by Raheem.

It was wonderful to be able to provide every child with a free school meal today.  I wish we were able to do so every day.  Many of our families do not meet the current eligibility criteria and will be facing increasing financial pressure due to the cost of living crisis.  Healthy, nutritious food is so important to support children’s learning and I hope that the Full Time Meals campaign will help make a difference and end child food poverty once and for all.”

Raheem Morgan, our Chartwells Chef at Torridon Primary added: “I love coming to work and seeing the smiles on pupils faces, but today has been that extra bit special. I’m incredibly proud to work as a school caterer, feeding the future generation, and hopefully inspiring them to enjoy cooking at home. I’ve come second three years in a row in the LACA School Chef of the Year competition, so hopefully a few of the pointers I’ve picked up from Tom will help me go one step further this year.”