Children get whole new taste experience at Rasen

Cook Emma Barnes and assistant Katie Hodson with some of the children who are being served up healthier meals. Also picture is head of school Nichola Allerston EMN-151013-103422001
Cook Emma Barnes and assistant Katie Hodson with some of the children who are being served up healthier meals. Also picture is head of school Nichola Allerston EMN-151013-103422001
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Children at Market Rasen Primary are tucking into healthier meals thanks to investment in a new on site kitchen.

Since the government scheme to provide all four to seven year olds with a hot meal began in September 2014, the school has been looking for ways to enhance the food experience.

Now with funding from the Department for Education and support from the local authority they can do just that.

“It is a fantastic resource to have,” said head of school Nichola Allerston.

“We are providing all children with a hot meal on site and not having to bring them in.

“This means we can cater for children with allergies with full confidence and we also have the capacity to vary the menu more.”

At the moment, the meals are just for the children on site, but in the near future the provision will also extend to Nettleton School, part of the North Wolds Federation with the Market Rasen school.

The kitchen, created from the old store room together with a new pod extension, is headed up by cook Emma Barnes, who has been working closely with the children to formulate the three- week rolling menu.

“We currently have two sittings, with a choice of three main meals and two desserts every day,” said Mrs Barnes.

“There is also the option of a salad bar and fresh fruit, which has been a great success - the kids love it.”

The uptake of meals across the whole school has increased since the meals were brought in house and the enjoyment is obvious.

“Our clean plate ratio is phenomenal,” said Mrs Allerston.

“A clean plate is the best sign of knowing they’re enjoying their lunch.”

But the kitchen is more than just about lunches.

“It was always part of the bigger picture for the kitchen to be part of school life,” added Mrs Allerston.

“It is so important for all children to learn life skills, so we will be starting cookery lessons as part of the main curriculum.”

The food trail will be extending even further in the future, with plans for the Ground Force Club to have an allotment area to grow their own produce, so it really will be from plot to plate.