Ask a pupil to name as many vegetables as they can and nine times out of ten, the list is sure to include peas, carrots and broccoli. The question is, at what age will their repertoire include the likes of kale, butternut squash and asparagus?
In a bid to increase the exposure of school pupils to some of the more exciting members of the vegetable family, Holroyd Howe has launched a Food Explorers concept. The initiative uses tasting tables to introduce pupils to different foods, prepared in a variety of ways. For example, winter kale might be offered as kale crisps, a smoothie or in a kale and feta quiche or pumpkin might be shown roasted, as seeds, or in a soup or pie.
The chefs running the tasting table ask pupils to identify the key ingredient and taste the various offerings before telling them where it comes from and describing its many nutritional benefits. They use seasonal, British produce as much as possible, whilst also introducing interesting other ingredients such as ancient grains from around the world.
This fun, interactive approach to food education helps to remove the barrier young people so often put up when it comes to less common ingredients and particularly vegetables. It also creates a communal, unpressurised environment where pupils feel like they are being given a treat and not being forced to “eat their greens”.
The pupils are rewarded for their efforts with a sticker to proudly wear home to tell their parents all about their most recent adventure at school.