Food for thought as school bikes out quality meals

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A head teacher who hired a top chef to cook his pupils’ school dinners is wheeling out the concept to other schools – literally.

The restaurant-style meals at Greenleys Junior school have proved so popular that uptake has quadrupled in the past year.

Now eco-conscious head Mike Talbot has invested in an electric bicycle, complete with hot food carrier, so other schools can sample the lip-smacking lunches.

Already nearby Greenleys infants school has signed up and site manager Dougie Read pedals their hot meals across every day.

They are now considering taking on one more school in September.

The menu, all prepared by chef Jack Freshwater, includes lamb kofta, vegetarian kebab with wild rice, line-caught tuna, cheddar and pasta bake and Scottish haddock and parsley pie.

The school’s business manager Jacqueline McManus said: “Jack makes the meals as interesting as possible and he’s an amazing chef. Eating here really is like eating at a restaurant – we even put tablecloths on the tables.”

Even the puddings are wholesome. A favourite is Jack’s special organic chocolate sponge.

“Once a week, on Fridays, we have a treat day and it’s burger and chips on the menu. But they are rump steak burgers that Jack makes by hand and chunky home-made wedges,” said Jacqueline.

Incredibly the meals cost £2.20 a day or £10 a week.

The school previously used council contractors Cygnet, a specialist company that delivers hot lunches. The council ended the contract last year, though many schools still use Cygnet privately.

Said Jacqueline: “We decided to open up our kitchens that hadn’t been used for years and employ Jack. It’s the best decision we’ve made.”