Food and Nutrition Update 9th December 2022

Food and Nutrition Update 9th December 2022

Posted: 9th December 2022

people at a restaurant

Pupils cook free Christmas dinners for Somerset’s Older People 

An army of pupils organised a very special Christmas dinner for some of Somerset’s older people this week. The pupils put on a full festive Christmas dinner with all the trimmings supported by the staff in the Faculty of Art, Design, and Food.

It was truly a day to remember as pupils from across the Year Groups delivered a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings along with starters, and desserts. The charity event in the ‘Kitchen Garden Restaurant’ at Queen’s, a pupil-led and pupil-run classroom space used to teach catering and hospitality skills which had been festively decorated with a Christmas tree, wrapped gifts and tinsel.  The older Sixth Form pupils together with those being taught GCSE Food, Preparation and Nutrition volunteered to help and support the younger school children to make and serve all the dishes. In the kitchen classroom Year 12 taught a group Year 7 pupils about the menu, food preparation, and food presentation while another group of from Year 7  smartly dressed in bow ties and black aprons were instructed on serving the dishes.

Food Teacher and Head of Psychology, Mrs Barker worked with the largest charity care provider for older people in the UK, the Methodist charity called Methodist Homes for the Aged (MHA). The charity provides support services tackling loneliness and isolation in people over 55 to enable older people to live in their homes for as long as possible and help them to live later life well. MHA Communities Somerset selected the people who attended and enjoyed the festive feast at Queen’s which itself is a Methodist School, founded by leading local Methodists.

Mrs Barker explained why it was so important for the school to put on this special dinner this year, saying, “We know it’s going to be a difficult Christmas for many people and we felt it important to do this, particularly after a difficult few years due to the Covid pandemic and now the cost of living crisis”. She added, “we especially wanted to reach out to local older people who might be on their own this Christmas”.

Tara Evans Community Co-ordinator for MHA Communities Somerset praised Queen’s College children for their “selflessness and support in putting together the special Christmas dinner”, she went on to say, “it is a very difficult time for everyone, but especially for older people, but this Christmas dinner from the children at Queen’s has brought people together and getting people together around a table to talk is life-enhancing community initiative”.

Mr Mann, Head of the Faculty of Art, Design, and Food, said, “Christmas is a time for giving – and we wanted to make a real difference and help older people this winter. It was also a valuable teaching and learning opportunity to form positive relationships among all the pupils involved across the years. A real cohesive school community project, pulled together by a love of learning and a common goal to help others”.

Hosting a lunch for the Elderly at Queen’s by Jen Year 13

On Tuesday, BrandonTsui, Ruby Chapman and I had the opportunity to meet a group of elderly people with dementia. We enjoyed a 3 course meal prepared by our very own food and nutritions students. The meal was delicious, some of the highlights being the pigs in blankets and the mouse au chocolat.When the guests walked in, they were amazed by the decorations that the staff had put up, especially the snowy window, being projected onto the wall. It really set the calm, relaxing mood.I really enjoyed chatting with all of the guests and hearing their stories.It was really eye opening and rewarding to spend time with people suffering with dementia as it gave me a new perspective on how some people live their life.  It was lovely to meet new people, I hope they felt as comfortable as we felt. I think Ruby and Brandon would both agree when I say, it was a lovely experience and hope it will become a tradition that will be repeated in years to come.

Lifeline for our birds this winter

While December may be a quieter month for our young gardeners, there are still plenty of jobs to be getting on with and preparations ahead of 2023. Among the tasks is putting food out for our garden birds.
The little birds that visit our pupil’s kitchen garden this winter will need food to keep them strong and warm for the forthcoming bitterly cold months. Fat hanging feeders are a great food source for birds, combining fat and protein, which provides a lifeline to birds with the energy needed to survive the winter months. So our young gardeners at Queen’s  have been melting fat and mixing together dry food mixes to fill recycled coconut shells before hanging them around their kitchen garden.
“Garden birds provide an important connection to the wider natural world and bring enormous joy, but nature needs us too “, said Mr Mann, Head of the Faculty of Art, Design, and Food. He explained,  “we are following the recommendations of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to make the most nutritious and safest use of feeders for our wildlife at Queen’s this winter. The recommendations this year for feeders are all about taking extra care to reduce the chances of spreading any diseases among wild birds and using hanging feeders (as there is far less chance of any transmissions by droppings) and setting up several different hanging feeders in different places to reduce the number of birds in one place”.

ITV VegPower Interview with Nutritionist for GCSE

At the international produce industry conference at the East of England Showground Arena in Peterborough last week our Head of the Faculty of Art, Design, and Food, Mr Mann met with the Chief Executive of ITV’s Veg Power Dan Parker about their television campaign to encourage young people to eat more nutritious vegetables. Following this meeting, Zoe Griffiths RNutr FAfN, Registered Nutritionist and ITV’s national VegPower Nutritionist very kindly agreed to join all our Year 11’s as part of their research projects. Zoe is a Nutritionist with 30 years of experience working in public health specialising in projects to increase fruit and veg consumption in children and adults and is a regular on LBC London Radio. She spent over an hour remotely answering questions about making informed choices about a varied and balanced diet, and the nutritional needs of different dietary groups.

Foraging for Fresh Summer Fruits in December

Years 3 to 6 pupils have been back in the pupil kitchen garden at Queen’s College this week collecting their ingredients for their ingredients fun, hands-on fruit and vegetable lessons in our food classrooms.

They easily managed to forage beneath the vines to find wonderful fresh courgettes for making their Courgette, Onion and Cheese Breads, and fresh peppers but the huge surprise was harvesting the very last of our pupil grown summer vine tomatoes on a freezing December day for their Rainbow Couscous dish!

Year 5 took their tomatoes and peppers from the kitchen garden back to the kitchen classroom where they mixed them with fresh Queen’s College grown mint and seasoned and flavoured before combining with the couscous for the healthy colourful dishes.


Categories: Food and Nutrition
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