“First and foremost, we want to enchant and engage the children. Children are unimpressed by lists or pyramids that separate the ‘good for you’ from the ‘not good for you’ foods.
But get them digging and planting and picking, or get them mixing or rolling or chopping, or get them around a table with their own freshly baked pizza topped with their own tomato sauce, liberally scattered with herbs from the garden, and the result is enthusiasm, real learning and great flavours.”
Stephanie Alexander Founder, The School Kitchen Garden Project
Stephanie Alexander is regarded as one of Australia’s few women master chefs. Her restaurant, Stephanie’s, in suburban Melbourne was an acclaimed gourmet food destination for fine dining afficionados for some 21 years. Her food philosophy is to present food in as natural a state as possible, so that one can experience the flavours and textures as they were meant to be.
Now, as an elder, she has become involved in educating the next generation’s chefs through the School Kitchen Garden Project. But, it is more than this. As noted in the quote above, the underlying purpose is to teach children about food, from the growing to the eating and sharing, “…to engage all their senses”. Food that is prepared in a healthful but delicious manner, and that children can be proud to say they have prepared themselves using simple recipes and their own creative touches. “….it is my belief that the earlier children learn about food through example and positive experiences, the better their food choices will be through life.”
The Project is spreading to other states of Australia and I can confidently say that, most likely, as a result of the program, the country’s health future is in very good hands, as well as probably also producing future great chefs.