Budding Young Chefs Serve up Salad in a Jar to Learn about Local Produce

Children in Year 5 and 6 from Bishop’s Waltham Junior School put on their chef’s hats and battled it out to win a Salad in a Jar cookery competition using locally sourced products.

Tom and Robert, from Year 6, stole the show, winning the competition with their tuna pasta salad in a jar served with a Mexican themed chilli, herb and mozzarella bread.

Speaking about their competition entry, Tom, 11 said: “We thought of flavours which went well together and decided to focus it around sea food. We put dry ingredients with moist ingredients to give it different textures too. With the bread we decided to make a Mexican themed one and put chilli and herbs in it. It is super tasty!”

Robert, 11 added: “Ages ago, my mum showed me how to make tuna pasta salad and so I thought I would try to make that. But to make it a bit different, we added croutons, roasted pine nuts and then lettuce to make sure it was nice and green. We’re super proud to have won!”

Tom (L) and Robert (R) with their winning bread and salad in a jar creations.

Tom (L) and Robert (R) with their winning bread and salad in a jar creations.

The competition is part of a project, run by local Home Economist, Davina Tibbetts and supported by The Southern Co-operative, to teach school children the importance of locally sourced food, what food miles are and to inspire children to take an interest in the food they consume.

One of the competition judges, Matt Elliott, Local Product Specialist for The Southern Co-operative said: “Being one of the judges for the Bishop’s Waltham Junior School Salad in a Jar competition was certainly a challenge. The food the children produced was delicious and it was very encouraging to see local produce being used in different ways. I feel that the winning dish, which had a touch of spice to it, showed a little extra creativity and really got our taste buds buzzing. A truly great effort from everyone involved!”

Judges for the final also included: Kirsty Lee, Local Sourcing Team Leader for The Southern Co-operative; Darren Campbell, Headmaster of Bishop’s Waltham Junior School; Jackie Straughan, Head of Food Technology at Swanmore College and Anna Backhouse, Deputy Chairman for Bishop’s Waltham Chamber of Trade.

Earlier this month, Davina held workshops with the school’s Year 5 and 6 students, where the children tasted local produce – supplied by The Southern Co-operative, worked in pairs to decide on their Salad in a Jar ingredients and come up with a savoury bread to accompany it. Two pairs from each year group were shortlisted and asked to make their salad and bake their bread at the competition final held at Swanmore College on Monday 27th June.

Group shot

Davina said: “This community based project and competition has inspired these young children to explore locally produced and seasonal food and at the same time develop their practical skills before moving on to secondary school. This year the children had to prepare and cook there final  recipes in the Food Technology room at Swanmore Secondary school. Mrs Straughan was delighted to host the afternoon, and has told me the children will have gained a valuable experience for the future. It is so important that children are encouraged to make informed choices about the food they eat and have the opportunity to cook.”

The competition and workshops have been supported by The Southern Co-operative through a grant awarded to Winchester City Council’s Market Towns Development project.  It forms part of a wider programme of activities designed to encourage local people to use their local shops and increase visitor numbers.