Food and DrinkNews

World Class Chef Visits Specialist School

Chicken katsu curry was on the menu for pupils at a specialist school last week when they had a cookery lesson from a world renowned chef.

The students at Aurora Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent got the chance to learn new skills and try new dishes at the cookery session, hosted by James Holden from the charity Adopt a School.

James has worked at some of the world’s finest hotels including the Savoy in London and is now with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts which founded the Adopt a School programme.

The initiative was launched to help children develop healthy eating habits, as well as giving an insight into the hospitality industry.

Hayley Crew, who teaches food technology at the school, said: “It’s been an amazing experience for me and the pupils to work alongside James today. To finally open our doors to visitors for this live event after all the Covid restrictions last year has made my day! We’ve learnt lots of new skills and techniques – the best being that we should peel celery to release the flavours. I’m proud of our pupils’ willingness to take part and their manners were impeccable. I’m very lucky to have such a rewarding job!”

Aurora Hanley is an independent school for young people aged 6-19, who may face difficulties as a result of complex communication needs typically associated with Autism spectrum conditions.

Fourteen-year-old Ash who took part said: “I enjoyed the chicken the most and I was surprised to learn that you can use maple syrup in a savoury dish.”

According to head teacher Tracy Whitehurst, the students benefit immensely from experiences such as these and they prepare them for life after education.

“It helps them learn techniques and follow instructions as would be required in a professional kitchen,” she said. “But better still, they produced amazing food!”