The Children’s Kitchen

The Children’s Kitchen Family Food Sessions.

The Children’s Kitchen is a city-wide Feeding Bristol and Bristol Early Years project which is focused on the areas of the Bristol with the highest levels of food insecurity. The project’s core work is in the Nursery Schools working with children under five, and with their families. The Children’s Kitchen works alongside the FOOD Clubs that are run within the settings using the same fresh produce that members receive and delivering cookery demonstrations, hands-on workshops and recipes in the clubs with families.

The project establishes regular Food Sessions during the nursery day where children can explore fresh produce which is either Fareshare surplus or home grown. The children explore and taste the fresh ingredients that their parents may be bringing home from FOOD Club, so they already have experience of a new ingredient before it is served to them in a meal. The project develops the confidence and skills of practitioners within the Nursery Schools so that they can run Food Sessions themselves and develop a focus on food as part of the Nursery priorities.

The Children’s Kitchen aims to:

  • Highlight the importance of building a healthy relationship with food at a young age, focusing on fresh produce rather than sweet treats.
  • Creating growing spaces and a term-based planting plan so that children can learn about food ‘Plot to Plate.’
  • Developing confidence and food knowledge for Early Years practitioners and people who work with children.
  • Linking Early Years food with the wider food education networks and strategic planning for the city, particularly focused on addressing food insecurity.
  • Supporting settings to improve their approach to food through hands on sessions, CPD, training and mentoring.

 

The Children’s Kitchen Food Sessions are not conventional cookery classes; instead, they are entirely led by exploring fresh produce in a multi-sensory way and encouraging children to touch, feel, smell and taste foods that often they have not tried before. This might be fresh peas in the summer or large squash and kale in winter; adults can help them to do this safely using age-appropriate cookery skills. Food Sessions do not follow recipes or expect predictable outcomes; they involve play, enquiry, experimentation, and child led learning. They are never based on cooking cake, biscuits, or other sweet treats as we are always conscious that young children should be eating less sugar and developing a taste for savoury foods.

Professional Development and hands on learning sessions build the skills and understanding of practitioners so that the project becomes a sustainable. The project also develops edible growing spaces in the settings so that children can plant, nurture and harvest fresh produce. Each Children’s Kitchen is also invited to work towards the Food for Life Early Years Award with support and mentoring from the Food for Life team.

 

The project is led by chef Jo Ingleby who was the winner of the BBC Cook of the Years Award in 2015 for her work with Early Years children at Redcliffe Children’s Centre. The Children’s Kitchen brings together several leading organisations and charities within Bristol to focus on Early Years children and their experience of food. As part of Feeding Bristol this includes being part of focus groups working towards the Food Equality Strategy and developing strategic changes to work towards food justice and equality. The Children’s Kitchen has worked as part of the Holiday Activities and Food programme to deliver hands on Food Sessions for children on free school meals and their families. Partner organisations include Incredible Edible Bristol, 91ways, The Square Food Foundation, Travelling Kitchen and a team of project developers who are experience food and growing practitioners.

The Children’s Kitchen Recipes


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Children’s Kitchen Spring into Action Recipes


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The Children’s Kitchen – Eat Together


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The Children’s Kitchen – Eat The Rainbow

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Children’s Kitchen Winter Recipes

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Bristol Early Years Food Contact

Jo Ingleby