For many years Euro-toques Ireland has carried out a range of initiatives to help educate children about food and encourage better eating habits. In the early years this involved Euro-toques chefs taking a roadshow to schools around the country, and in more recent years carrying out intensive hands-on workshops, involving not only chefs but also artisan food producers.
This has now developed into an annual week of nationwide School Food Workshops, in which Euro-toques chefs around the country voluntarily visit local national schools, and sometimes even invite classes to their restaurants and cookery schools.
On Wednesday last 54 pupils from second and third classes at Scoil na bhForbacha participated in a the 2010 Euro-toques workshop at the Connemara Coast Hotel, fronted by head chef Ulriche Hoeche. Chef Hoeche and the management and staff provided an educational food experience for the children. “The aim is to give young children an appreciation of food and instil an enjoyment of cooking and eating,” said Hoeche. “It is not about words like nutrition and calories, it is not about negative messages, it is about giving children an appreciation of where food comes from, how it is grown, how it is prepared and, above all, how to enjoy it.”
Sean Breathnach, principal at Scoil na bhForbacha, feels it is an excellent opportunity to take the children out of the classroom and to participate in the Eurotoque workshop activities that included planting, smoothie making, healthy lunchbox tips, and recipe ideas.
On the day the children also took part in the tasting table, where their senses were challenged in a blind tasting as they touched, smelled, tasted, and described a variety of foods from cheeses and olives to honey and dark chocolate.
The event was a great success with plenty of budding Derry Clarkes, Neven Maguires, and Rachel Allens showing their potential on the day.