Celebrity chef James Tanner gave students of all ages an inspirational cooking masterclass on Thursday 8th March as he spent the day teaching different age groups at independent all-ability school LVS Ascot. His sessions gave them a new confidence in food preparation and an insight into the importance of sustainable fishing.
James, who became famous on Ready, Steady Cook before going on to Saturday Kitchen, also on BBC 1, and ITV’s Lorraine and Saturday Cookbook, demonstrated the techniques that have made him one of the most respected chefs in the country. He also gave tips on how students can improve their skills to obtain the best possible exam results in food preparation and nutrition.
A seafood session with the LVS Ascot Juniors saw James talk candidly about the importance of sustainability for future generations, fish preparation and the difference between various species with a range of examples on hand to show them.
LVS Ascot students from 4-years-old to 18 enjoyed a surprise and benefited from James’ talents at lunchtime as he took over one of the many varied food stations in the canteen to cook up a range of tasty treats including tempura battered pollock and breaded hoki goujons. With meals included in LVS Ascot’s all-inclusive fees, all 800+ students from 4 to 18 were able to enjoy James’ cooking and gave very favourable feedback, with some students also taking the opportunity to collect autographs.
Food preparation GCSE students were able to gain inspiring and expert guidance from James in an afternoon cooking demonstration that enabled them to learn high-level technical skills such as fish filleting. Students such as Amy Price, 14, were also able to pick up valuable guidance on flavour development and plating and presentation skills that will give them an edge in their qualifications. She said: “I will now feel more confident about using these skills in my GCSE examinations”.
LVS Ascot’s Teacher in Charge of Food Science Melanie Holloway said: “Our students learned that the food industry is very diverse with lots of career and travel opportunities within the industry. James’ passion for food was evident and very infectious. The students now feel confident using more technical knife skills and are already using them in their lessons”.
James Tanner is an ambassador for Independents by Sodexo who supply the catering at LVS Ascot with an emphasis on a balanced, healthy diet. LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe said: “We aim to inspire students to try new things, express their talents and exceed their expectations, and James Tanner’s visit helped students of all ages to gain the confidence to take their own skills forward whilst instilling in them the importance of sustainability for future generations”.