Young chefs from Ramsgate Arts Primary cook up a Mexican feast

Youngsters learn some cooking skills

There’s no time to siesta, let’s have a fiesta – that was the message to invited guests for a tasty Mexican feast created by young chefs from Ramsgate Arts Primary.

The Year 6 catering crew prepared, cooked and served a number of nutritious tasty dishes to family and friends in a celebration of a week-long intensive cookery course.

Linking in with their latest classroom topic Mexico: Then and Now, the children worked under the expert guidance of Newington Community Chef Mike Spackman in the kitchens at the town’s Royal Harbour Academy.

The girls and boys explored basic cooking skills, recipes and menus of traditional food. They were taught knife skills (including the bridge and claw grips), preparation techniques and how to use equipment such as food processors, hobs and ovens.

After each day, the pupils shared their latest creations and discussed what went well and what they had enjoyed. After the Thursday session, they voted for their favourite dishes to create a mouth-watering menu for Friday’s feast.

Year 6 teachers Jon Williams and Andrew Beraet were impressed at the way the pupils embraced the cookery challenge and engaged with new skills in the kitchen.

They said: “A wonderful meal was served that included a range of dishes from across the week: chilli con carne, mini chicken fajitas, taco salad, pork koftas, spicy potatoes and stuffed peppers.

“Thank you to all of the parents and grandparents who were able to come and enjoy the cuisine of offer – it made the whole project worthwhile.”

Mike Spackman oversaw a range of kitchen rules and skills including food preparation skills, safety and hygiene, following recipe instructions accurately and understanding recipe language, accurate use of measuring equipment, cookery, serving and presentation skills.

He said: “Over a full school week all children, without exception, have grown in both confidence and enthusiasm.

“In the main, they have been willing and eager to explore new flavours and textures. Ingredients that were a mystery at first have now become far more familiar.

“They have all overcome some demanding challenges and produced some truly great tasting food. We clearly have some ‘chefs in the making’.”

Head of School Nick Budge said: “This was a fantastic success that served up well cooked tasty food as part of our celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.

“The children were the stars of the show but huge thanks go to our Year 6 teachers, Mike Spackman for his enthusiasm and encouragement, and to Tom Boughton and Simon Pullen for allowing us to use the excellent facilities at Royal Harbour Academy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Mike Spackman is BBC Food and Farming Awards Cook of the Year 2017, B.Ed. Hons Primary, Certificate in Professional Cookery; Project manager of The Community Chef Project (Swale) since 2008, currently on a two-year secondment to Newington Big Local in Ramsgate.