Delicious grub for schoolchildren with their new star chef

TASTY Head chef Steve Cross, 31, with a Park Community Healthy Eating Meal Deal. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (150511-9447)
TASTY Head chef Steve Cross, 31, with a Park Community Healthy Eating Meal Deal. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (150511-9447)
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FROM Spanish roasted vegetable frittata to shoulder of pork with sage and onion stuffing – everything on the menu at Park Community School is a mouth-watering slice of deliciousness.

And it is thanks to the school’s new healthy eating plan which puts concrete chips and soggy semolina well in the past.

Spicy fishfinger sandwiches for �1

Spicy fishfinger sandwiches for �1

Under the direction of new head chef Steve Cross, who has cooked for the Queen at Buckingham and Windsor palaces and at Michelin-starred restaurants, the Leigh Park school has seen a transformation in its food.

A group of 12 pupil food ambassadors work alongside Mr Cross to ensure the menus reflect healthy food pupils want to eat.

They are put together three weeks in advance using only healthy ingredients, including fruit and vegetables from the school’s smallholding where there are also pigs, goats and chickens – which all the children can visit.

Mr Cross emails the day’s menu to every pupil each morning and the recipe is available for them to take home and try themselves.

The Park Community School food ambassadors

The Park Community School food ambassadors

He said: ‘The government put the food plan in place after Jamie Oliver broadcast his programme on school food.

‘We wanted to get the children involved, get them trying different things. The easiest way of us spreading the word about healthy food was through food ambassadors.

‘It gives people the opportunity to try things they’ve never eaten before and have a say in what they eat.’

Year 9 pupil Houssam Altahaineh said: ‘The food is really nice. My favourite is the pizza.’

And Frances Raistrick, also in Year 9, said: ‘The food is much better now than last year.

‘We never used to have a choice, it was the same things over and over again.

‘We get to try out lots of different food and it’s much more interesting.

‘I like the leek and cauliflower bake and sweet potato fries.’

Janice Norman, the school sports co-ordinator, said: ‘It’s about giving the children a voice and helping them understand the link between healthy body, healthy mind and exercise.’