作者：沪江英语 来源：每日邮报 2015-03-28 00:18
Forget school dinners of lumpy mashed potato, grey mince and mushy carrots. The pupils of Loreto High School certainly have. These days, thanks to a MasterChef in the school kitchen, they enjoy fresh-caught mackerel with beetroot and kale salad, or Thai-style fishcakes with pak choi. And although meals are five-star quality, they cost a mere £2.35. That includes pudding, which instead of soggy apple crumble, is more likely to be lemon and rosemary chocolate truffle. The school called in MasterChef semi-finalist Adam Leavy and Sukhdev Singh, both formerly of acclaimed Manchester restaurant Abode, after students complained about boring dinners.
They had to go through an audition against other top quality chefs - each cooking up a two course meal from the ingredients given to them - much like on Masterchef. And the pair impressed so much that Headmaster Peter Tite instantly hired them, and now the children are tucking into the likes of smoked mackerel, kale and ciabatta - for just £2.35 a day. 'The kids don't trust some of the things we put on the plates, but most of the time they end up loving it,' said Mr Leavy, who is now cooking up to 500 school meals a day.
A typical school lunch is now something most of us would be very happy to find on our plates while out at a fancy restaurant. An example of what the children might find on their plates on an average day is smoked mackerel, which is caught on the day, with beetroot and kale salad, and a lemon and rosemary chocolate truffle for dessert.
Or if that doesn't pique their interest, the chefs are happy to whip up a chocolate mousse with caramelised biscuits and cream as a treat. The only problem now is that parents are having to contend with the chefs' high standards when cooking for their children at home. One mother said: 'My son used to complain that the food was boring. Now he comes home talking saying he will only he eat his salad with extra virgin olive oil. Gone are the days of sausage and mash. 'These are the best school meals in Britain. The only problem is my son comes home and now he turns his nose up at beans on toast.'
Kale salad (or as they call it, 'that grass stuff') and ciabatta ('posh bread'), are the latest culinary crazes at Loreto High. Mr Singh said: 'It's a bit hit and miss. But most of the dishes they love. 'Every week we do small little testers to see their reaction. So last week we let them try some kale, and now they can't get enough of it.' The chefs' decision to leave their restaurant jobs and move into cooking at school is largely down to the hours - and the opportunity to get their lives back. This is especially important for Mr Leavy, whose first child is due in November. Mr Tite says he now has plans to ditch the plastic chairs and trays and transform the canteen into a restaurant - complete with 'special of the day' hoardings at the entrance. He added that the canteen's takings have soared since Mr Leavy and Mr Singh got into the kitchen, and staff are now vying for seats at the dining room tables alongside their pupils. Turnover has increased by 21 per cent, while 72 per cent of pupils are now having school lunches - up from 60 per cent last year. ' It's just given the whole school a lift, and it's been fantastic for our pupils from deprived backgrounds,' Mr Tite said.