Posted on Tuesday 16 August 2016
Above: loaded potato shells with mixed salad leaves and cucumber and tomato salsa
Children staying for school dinners in Gateshead’s primary schools are about to sit down to a brand new menu.
A new range of tasty hot dishes will soon be served up to thousands of hungry youngsters – and catering chiefs are confident that they’ll go down a storm.
The new dishes include creamy chicken and chick pea curry with rice, nan and fresh raita, loaded potato shells with mixed salad leaves and cucumber and tomato salsa, individual minced beef wellingtons with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, and warm falafel flatbreads with jewelled rice. All of them are freshly cooked in school.
There have been subtle improvements elsewhere in the menu too, with careful reductions in hidden sugar content, more fresh fruits and salads, and more emphasis on fresher, healthier ingredients. Items such as brown rice and wholemeal flour have now become part of the menu, though it’s been done in such a way that it’s unlikely that the children will even notice!
The 2016 menu has been devised by Gateshead School Catering’s development chef Marek Blonski who has gone through the whole school menu and identified ways to make everything look better and taste better – and provide a lot more nutrition.
Head of Catering Michael Lamb reckons parents will be delighted with the changes.
“If people think schools meals are all stodgy puddings and chips with everything, they are in for a real shock,” he says. “Those days have gone forever.”
“We now have a menu that wouldn’t look out of place in a swanky bistro – and in terms of quality, we’re confident it’s better than anything you could expect to get from a local restaurant. Really, it’s that good.
“We are passionate about providing children with the best possible diet to get them through a busy school day, but we also think it’s important to teach children that healthy nutritious food can taste fantastic, too. The eating habits that children acquire at primary age will be with them for the rest of their lives so it’s essential that we help establish good habits early.”
Details of the weekly menus are available here.