Pupils whip up healthy meals
A group of young Palmerston North foodies have received their own MasterClass as part of national programme aimed at encouraging children into healthy cooking.
The 24 students from Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School and several city primary schools were given a cooking lesson yesterday by New Zealand MasterChef winner Brett McGregor.
Split into groups of four, the pupils prepared dishes of salmon tagliatelle as part of the Let's Cook with Parmco programme.
"It's not about finding the best chef," Mr McGregor said. "It's about getting children excited about being in the kitchen and giving it a go."
The Let's Cook programme encourages children to create meals and then post photos of their creations online.
Schools taking part are provided with weekly recipes accompanied by video tutorials by Mr McGregor. The public are then able to vote on the dishes, with $165,000 in prizes for schools and students for the highest-polling entries.
"Let's Cook with Parmco is about showing kids, teachers and parents, that cooking more sophisticated food with fresh ingredients is not difficult at all if they just give it a go," Mr McGregor said.
"We want to help kids and their parents connect with cooking so they know how easy it is to prepare healthy, nutritious food that tastes delicious."
Around 400 schools, from primary to high school, signed up for last year's programme, and more than 60,000 votes were received, with even more expected this year.
Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School food technology teacher Helen Fotherington said this was the first year the school had taken part in the Parmco programme.
It had in the past two years been successful in the Maggi Kitchen Showdown, another cooking competition for schools.
Having Mr McGregor at the school, part of a national tour he is undertaking, was exciting for the students involved, Mrs Fotherington said.
In teaching students cooking, the focus was on developing basic skills such as using knives and ovens that would allow them to cook at home, she said.
"The focus is very much on meals - we try to cook family meals, things they can go home and cook themselves."
It was rewarding when parents then reported back that their children had shown an interest in cooking at home, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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