When it comes to cooking up a tasty treat, there’s nothing better than Pancake Day to get kids interested in what goes on in the kitchen.
And pupils at Longhill Primary School enjoyed getting hands on when they whipped up some pancake batter ahead of today’s festivities.
It gave them some useful practice in the kitchen too – as it coincided with the launch of a new children’s cooking programme which is being rolled out to primary schools in the city.
It will see hundreds of pupils don their chef’s whites, open their own ‘restaurant’ and serve up meals to their parents.
The launch of Little Devils Kitchen took place at the school yesterday (Monday March 3), and is based on the hugely popular Devils Kitchen, the adult version which has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds raised in the region for charity.
The Smile Foundation is behind both programmes, and whereas Devils Kitchen was launched three years ago to raise funds, Little Devils Kitchen is aimed purely at raising aspirations among the city’s children.
The project has been funded with more than £6,000 of financial support from NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (Hull CCG).
It is initially being rolled out to ten primary schools across the city, with future plans to expand further, and it is aimed at giving nine to 11-year-olds a real insight into working life after school.
Assisted and coached by chefs from leading restaurants, and with business advice from Barclays Bank mentors, the children will prepare a meal, brand their own ‘restaurant’ in the school hall, and then serve their creations to their parents.
The scheme has been piloted at Hull and East Riding schools over the past 12 months, with fantastic feedback from teachers and pupils.
Longhill Primary’s head teacher Mark Batty hailed the impact the hands-on learning had made.
He said: “We have been fortunate enough to hold two pilot events for Little Devils Kitchen and they have both captured the children’s imagination, so much so that they have been asking when they can do it again.
“The brilliance of Little Devils Kitchen is that it links learning at school directly to working life for the pupils. They can see that what they learn here could help them to become a chef, or perhaps work in a bank.
“Added to that, it also helps encourage children to sit and eat around a table with their families, and parents have come in and been really impressed with what their children have produced.”
Dr Dan Roper, Chair of NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted to fund the Little Devils Kitchen programme in Hull schools. Encouraging young people to learn about preparing healthy meals helps them to continue to make healthier choices throughout their lives.
“Aside for the obvious health benefits, the programme is fun, involves the whole family, and the expert business mentors open up the world of food, catering and hospitality to get young people thinking about future training and careers within the industry.”
Andy Barber, charity manager at The Smile Foundation and creator of both Devils and The Little Devils Kitchen programmes, said he was delighted to be introducing school pupils to the concept.
“Devil’s Kitchen has been a runaway success for us, helping to generate more than £300,000 for local charities in recent years and now it has become a nationwide project,” he said.
“We are certain Little Devils Kitchen will be equally successful, with the aim not of raising funds, but raising the aspirations and confidence of children to leave school and have ambitions and goals for their working life.
“We have already received requests to take the programme national, which once we have succeeded in rolling the programme to schools across Hull & East Yorkshire, we hope to do.”
ABOUT DEVILS KITCHEN
The Devils Kitchen concept brings teams of 8 from two businesses into a local venue to compete at cooking and serving a premium 3-course meal for each of their own 40 corporate guests. The event is a unique spin on the traditional black tie dinners with the average cost per event constantly under four hundred pounds, whilst raising on average ten times that amount per evening.
In addition to supporting 40 projects and helping to generate over £300,000, the event has served over 3,500 diners, generated over 7,000 volunteer hours and raised funds to help redevelop charity buildings and retain and provide vital third sector services for the region..
For more details see www.devils-kitchen.co.uk