Top chef Paul Rankin puts kids to the test at Banbury School
25/05/2011 - 23:00

Celebrity chef Paul Rankin recently visited pupils at Tudor Hall School in Banbury to judge their cooking and to encourage healthy eating.

Rankin gave the kids a task of creating one of his signature dishes; Grilled mackerel with roast peppers and Salsa Verde. They were given a recipe bag of ingredients and asked to make the dish themselves.

The top chef assessed their efforts not only for taste, but also for appearance on the plate.

More of the chef's signature dishes - penne pasta with broccoli, goats cheese and sun dried tomatoes followed by peach crumble with raspberry cream - were served for lunch in the dining room where he helped out with service and circulated amongst the pupils, talking to them about their favourite foods and his favourite dishes to cook.

Then in the afternoon he gave a talk on Healthy Eating and Nutrition to Year four & five pupils. Then there was another skills test for Upper Sixth Form cookery students as six pairs of girls competed in an omelette challenge with Rankin judging the best of the bunch.

The event was organised by the school's caterer, Sodexo. It marked another milestone for the company's wider health and wellbeing engagement programme, Healthwise. Sodexo runs various workshops and competitions across the country to get children more involved with what they eat.

Rankin, who has been working as a consultant to Sodexo for 11 years, said: "It is so important to teach children the importance of healthy food and visits like this are one of the ways Sodexo and I work together to promote the healthy eating message in schools. I've really enjoyed visiting Tudor Hall School, the girls were really engaged and I had a lot of fun cooking with them."

Paul Woodward, Sodexo account manager, added: "At Sodexo, we take pride in ensuring the food we offer in our schools is great to eat and nutritionally balanced. Paul's talk really helped get the healthy eating message across and hopefully the sixth formers learned a few tricks of the trade in terms of food presentation and how to make a perfect omelette."