Posted on 02/10/2014

Food for thought

Guest blog by Alex Wade, Chairman

Everything at FBS is designed to bring out the best in boys. That includes our curriculum, our sports programme, our choice of books in the library… and even our school meals.

We don’t allow packed lunches at FBS. We have a long school day and our boys need a hot, nutritionally balanced meal to help them stay alert – in the classroom or the sports field.

If you were to look in the freezer in many school kitchens, you would see it packed with food ready to simply heat and serve. Not FBS. Just as athletes have to follow a certain diet, which is carefully prepared, the governors were convinced that a school designed for boys needed a meal service built around them too. So the only items in our school freezer this week are peas and ice cream. Everything else is brought in fresh each day, from the market and carefully selected providers, and prepared from scratch in our kitchen. Even the cookies served at FBS are home made! Our emphasis is varied, fresh, healthy, tasty food.

Portions are hearty, fresh fruit is always available, and boys are encouraged to discover food and try new things. Of course staples like fish and chips, chicken nuggets and hot dogs will always be popular and occasionally appear on the menu here. Friday’s fish was fresh coley, battered in tempura. When serving chicken nuggets, our chefs take delivery of whole, fresh chickens soon after 6am in the morning, then they’re boned by hand, marinated, coated and baked for lunch. And our hot dogs are made on site, with saddleback pork and served with organic ketchup and fresh salad.

Our Christian values mean it is important to understand where our food comes from and its impact on the environment. Our menu changes with the seasons. We don’t use air-freighted food and aim for 100% British produce. We insist on high animal welfare and have a preference for organic, free-range meat, with the UK’s Farm Assured scheme as a minimum standard. We choose fish from sustainable stock. The Marine Conservation Society approves even our fish fingers!

We are reviewing the menus with a nutritionist and aim to tailor the menu to particular days. For instance, boys may have a very different need on a sport heavy Wednesday and that should be taken into account by our chef.

And how do we provide such high quality food at only £2.50 per day? By being enterprising. Our school chef, Mike Catuogno, has a team of up to four chefs serving tasty food to other customers in Fulham. When not being used for FBS, they are free to use our kitchen for their requirements. In return for their food and service, we save them the cost of equipping a kitchen of their own. A win for both of us.

Mike and his team are already making plans to introduce our boys to food in more imaginative ways – by having a cookery club and an area of our grounds set aside for growing herbs and vegetables.

A meal is an important part of the day. We encourage our boys to socialize with others over lunch, talk about their day and share conversation with the teachers who eat with them. We need adult volunteers to join us on lunch duty so, if you are able to spare an hour between 12.25 and 1.25, please get in touch with the school office by phone or e-mail. Come and be part of our lunch experience yourselves! It would be great to hear from you.

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