Kindergarten celebrates international chefs day with art on plates
The old saying 'don't play with your food' was well and truly thrown out the door at Feilding's Eden Kindergarten when they dug in with a local chef to create art on a plate.
Chef and owner of Bethany's Restaurant in Palmerston North Ruben Leung-Wai taught children the tricks of the trade to celebrate international chefs day on Thursday.
Leung-Wai was "amazed" by the children's response to the event, which was designed to get them involved in the culinary industry through interactive food creations.
The children traded pencils for utensils, arranging their food to create self portraits and famous landmarks, such as the Auckland Sky Tower or the Beehive.
Leung-Wai said the children recognised the importance of healthy eating through play.
"A common misconception is healthy food is expensive. Something as simple as eggs on toast makes for a great breakfast - it's simple, it's got good protein, starch and carbohydrates.
"These days we're so used to fast food because it's cheap. We're trying to teach children here that through creativity fresh food can be fun and you can eat anything, raw or cooked," he said.
"When we get older we forget about that and eating healthy becomes a chore. You don't have to be cooking amazing things."
Results from the 2015 New Zealand Health survey revealed 11 per cent of Kiwi kids are obese and a further 22 per cent are overweight.
Head teacher Ade Beech said health statistics highlighted the importance of teaching children to make healthy choices.
"We want them to learn what's important for their physical health. We've been working on the national Heart Foundation Rito Award, which is all about making healthy decisions.
"We encourage parents to bring fruit to share and we provide toast for morning teas," Beech said.
"We don't usually do this, so it's something new for them and that's probably why they've responded so well. I said 'should we do it again tomorrow' and they all yelled 'yes'."
The kindergarten has a roll of 70 children, with 40 taking part in Leung-Wai's session.
New Zealand Chefs Association president Graham Hawkes hoped children would take their good eating habits home to their whanau.
"We know kids learn best through play. It enables them to really understand the importance of nutritional food, encourages deeper understanding and allows students to transfer their learning into action."