THEY may go to work in kitchens more than 3,000 miles apart but two school chefs found they share the same passion for serving healthy food for their pupils.
Yesterday Tony Mulgrew threw open his kitchen at a special school, in Halifax, to Swedish chef Lyndon McLeod as part of a two day international exchange aimed at allowing them to swap recipes and ideas.
The pair met through Twitter and arranged to visit each other’s kitchens. Mr Mulgrew said: “It is great to be able to meet Lyndon face to face. I hope he is able to take away some ideas from what he sees here and I hope to be able to do the same when I visit Sweden at the end of the month.
He told The Yorkshire Post he hoped to pick up tips from the Swedish chef on exciting ways of cooking fresh fish for pupils.
Mr Mulgrew is the chef at Ravenscliffe High School, in Halifax, and was part of an expert panel involved in drawing up the new Government guidelines over school food which came into effect this term. Last year he was named Cook of the Year in the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. Mr McLeod works at a school in Gislaved in Sweden.
He said: “We are sharing ideas. “We may be thousands of miles away from each other but we share a lot in common. There has been a lot of work to move away from processed food in Sweden schools like in England. There is such fantastic work taking place around school food in England.
“Serving nutritious and tasty food is so important and gives pupils a brighter and healthier future. One thing I have noticed is that Tony has a lot more freedom over the food that he sources. He goes to local farmers and producers and buys whatever he likes. In Sweden we have to use the supplier who has been awarded a contract by the local government.
“We have much less choice, so that is one area which I would like to look at when we get back to Sweden.
“Fish is an important part of the diet in Sweden. We probably have it two or three times a week at our schools and I am going to make sure there is a variety of fish on the menu for Tony when he visits.”
Yesterday the two chefs combined to create a menu with both a British and Scandinavia flavour.
Pupils enjoyed a butternut squash, sweet potato, garlic and chilli soup for starter and then cod and hake cooked in a tomato and basil sauce and a pork and chorizo casserole. Today they will visit Holy Trinity Primary School, in Halifax, and Gazegill, a local organic farm which supplies Ravenscliffe with their beef and dairy.
Ravenscliffe is a Food for Life Partnership gold school and representatives from this coalition of charities attended a special lunch yesterday along with Coun Ann McAllister of Calderdale Council.
She said she was thrilled to see Ravenscliffe High getting international recognition.