Pupils shown how to eat well, be Masterchef judges, and avoid sugar
Gnocchi and learning about sugar were on the menu during a cooking session at Roslyn School in Palmerston North.
Kids Can Cook Kitchen chef Chris Fortune held four sessions at the school on Monday, cooking Italian food with 90 pupils.
Fortune has been running the sessions for the past two years and has visited 200 schools and 48,000 pupils.
Fortune visited Roslyn School two years earlier when he taught the children about food from Italy's southern neighbours France - making crepes.
Yesterday the menu was gnocchi, or as Fortune put it: "poor man's pasta" made with kumara and potato.
Fortune also utilised silverbeet and sage from the school's own garden.
He taught the pupils important kitchen lessons, such as smelling food, always watch what you are doing, and "always hold your fingers like a crab when you are slicing and dicing".
In Fortune's kitchen even the plates were edible - made from potato starch - though the "potato plates" did not prove quite as popular with the pupils' tastebuds.
The plates will however dissolve in a garden after two days, better than the 1000 years it would take for their polystyrene counterparts to do the same, Fortune said.
Fortune also showed the children how taste their food like Masterchefs.
"You rub your chin, then you go, thumbs down, thumbs sideways or thumbs up" and the final taste test of the gnocchi came with a resounding round of thumbs up from the pupils.
But the sessions also come with a serious message; sugar.
"Sugar is a really interesting subject," he said. "We hear a lot about it, but do we understand it from a kid's perspective?"
Fortune said he tried to give children the information so they could make an informed decision themselves.
"If you tell a kid not to do something, the first thing they do is go and taste it or do it."