The £100,00 initiative - “ [email protected]: Inspiring Food Education” - was launched by Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary, at the luxury Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, with the backing of the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie.
Under the new classroom initiative some of Scotland’s leading professional chefs and cooks will be linked to schools where they will run classes on preparing fresh food and workshops that covering everything from food provenance to the importance of healthy diet, as well as discussing career opportunities in the food, drink and hospitality industry.
The project will be managed by the Federation of Chefs Scotland and is initially being targeted at reaching at least 15,000 pupils across the country.
Mr Lochhead said:“Scotland is famous for its high quality produce and the industry is one of the country’s main economic drivers. There is much more room for growth and it’s important that we look at nurturing the next generation to continue the success we’ve had.
“The food and drink industry is much wider than simply the fantastic products Scotland has and that’s why we need to ensure our young people appreciate all that it does.”
He continued: “We are also lucky to be home to some of the world’s top chefs, such as Andrew Fairlie. They are highly skilled and motivated, fantastic role models and their enthusiasm will inspire our young people.
“That’s why we’re investing in projects like [email protected] to teach our children about our food’s journey from farm to fork as well as stressing the number of career opportunities available within the sector.”
Mr Fairlie, Scotland’s only two Michelin starred chef, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the [email protected] project get off the ground and it’s fantastic to see so many great chefs from all around Scotland so keen to become involved. This is something that schools have been crying out for, for a long time now.”
He added: “It’s a great opportunity for chefs to engage with children, not only on the importance of healthy eating, but the pleasure of preparing and eating fresh food. My hope is that it we will provide an attractive, fascinating and fun subject incorporated into the school curriculum.”
Suzanne Hargreaves from Education Scotland said:”The [email protected] scheme will allow chefs and cooks to add value to Curriculum for Excellence and accelerate the evolution of food culture change taking place in Scotland. Outcomes for learners will included enhanced skills in cooking with fresh, local produce, engaging with chefs acting as role models will demonstrate vocational pathways and a depth of understanding around seasonal produce and can being able to apply that knowledge and understanding about seasonality to source, create and make nutritionally balanced meals.”
The chefs taking part include Donald McInnes, executive chef at the Ayr Race Course, Ian MacDonald, the president-elect of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and Executive Chef for the St Andrews Links Trust; Jav Aziz, Group Chef at Rangers FC, and Kevin MacGillivray, current President of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and a previous Scottish Chef of the Year.