@CHandCO the independent catering and hospitality business with specialism in the education sectors, has launched The Education Board by CH&CO to address and take action around the prominent issues of physical and mental health and sustainability through food and nutrition.

It brings foodservice, independent schools, state schools and the third sector together to challenge the role of food in schools and lead the conversation on the intrinsic link between nutrition and wellbeing.

CH&CO created The Education Board to help facilitate partnerships and interactions between independent and state schools and the third sector. The beneficial connections will provide a strong platform to share knowledge, best practice and facilities relating to food, nutrition and sustainability, and to create positive food messaging with young people throughout all stages of education and into society.

It also champions the diverse and exciting career opportunities the hospitality industry offers.

The Board is a collaboration of foodservice, nutrition, education, healthcare and sustainability experts who believe that creating good relationships with food in young people through education will have a positive impact on their wellbeing and those of future generations, and on the planet. It’s also supported by The Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical centre, which supports the initiative as creating a healthier nation will reduce the pressure on the healthcare sector.

Nourishment & Beyond Event

The Education Board by CH&CO launched with a Nourishment & Beyond Conference, held at Westminster Kingsway College. Attendees from across the education sector enjoyed a programme of relevant and inspiring speakers that supported the vision and objectives of the Education Board by CH&CO, which were introduced by Deborah Homshaw, Managing Director Education and Healthcare, CH&CO and John Pratten, Chair of The Education Board by CH&CO and former Bursar of Box Hill School and past Chair of the Independent Schools Bursars’ Association (ISBA).

Keynote speaker Professor Tanya Byron gave a fascinating presentation on ‘Emotional Nourishment: wellbeing and food’; renowned chef Raymond Blanc OBE made the link between good food and sustainability with ‘Smart food is nourishing food: provenance, sustainability and zero waste’; Tim Baker, Head Teacher at Charlton Manor Primary School, London, discussed his successful approach of ‘Teaching the national curriculum through food’; CH&CO’s consultant nutritionist Amanda Ursell shared her nutrition expertise; and Juliane Albrecht, Head of Patient Support Services at The Cleveland Clinic explored ‘Linking healthcare and service careers through food’.

Lunch also offered a real taste of the vision with interactive pop-ups showcasing how food can engage and excite, whilst delivering important, positive food and sustainability messages. For example, zero waste street food dishes featured ingredients usually thrown away; ‘smart bowl food’, created by CH&CO chefs and Westminster Kingsway College students, offered clever seasonal dishes that can be adapted to use produce in season all year round; the cookery teacher and students from Charlton Manor Primary School demonstrated mini anatomy and science lessons using food to teach the national curriculum; and the emotional nourishment menu showed the power of food in evoking memories and emotions.

Vision into action

The first initiatives that put The Education Board’s vision into practice were also unveiled and will launch in September. This includes accredited, age appropriate food and nutrition courses, which are being developed in partnership with Westminster Kingsway College and will be delivered by CH&CO chefs and nutritionists. They will bring students together from across the education sectors to learn about good food and nutrition in a fun, interactive and tangible way.

The Education Board Chef Competition was also introduced, which will see teams featuring students from each sector plus a mentor chef compete in their relevant age category.

Deborah Homshaw said: “I’m incredibly excited and proud of what we’ve created. As experts within foodservice we have a responsibility and the capability of forging really positive messaging, relationships and action with people within all the different parts of the education sector focusing on the powerful benefits of intrinsically nutritious food. The Education Board by CH&CO is the result of that vision and it’s gaining momentum.

“We’re challenging the status quo.  For many years, society has, unintentionally, created bad relationships with food by focusing on negative messages, state and independent schools have worked separately and the clear impact of food and nutrition on physical and mental wellbeing and academic and sporting performance has been, on the whole, ignored.  We’re turning this on its head. By bringing everyone together, we’re delivering positive messages around food, making it fun for our children and investing in practical solutions that put food and nutrition at the centre of conversations. This is how we empower young people to make good choices today and into the future, and that’s the right thing to do.

“We’re also working with schools and colleges to champion the fantastic career opportunities within hospitality. From chefs and front-of-house teams to accountants, lawyers, marketeers and HR professionals, our industry offers diverse career paths and excellent development pathways.”

John Pratten said: “Partnerships between independent and state schools are not new and we hope by adding this nutritional dimension as well as career pathways into the hospitality and healthcare sectors that we can extend these excellent relationships even further. It’s important that we address the primacy of nutrition on mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. The impact of food and nutrition applies to us all, regardless of background, so it makes sense that all parts of the education sector should share their knowledge, skills and facilities to ensure young people are given the right information, in a fun and tangible way, so that they can embrace and enjoy nutritious food that fuels their wellbeing.

“The response we’ve had from the schools we’re talking to has been very positive. They get what we’re doing and want to be part of it. We’re also listening to the children. We link a lot of our messaging to sustainability and the environment as they can relate to this. Children have shown us how interested and motivated they are, and food is no exception.”

Board members include Deborah Homshaw, Managing Director Education & Healthcare, CH&CO; Amanda Ursell, Consultant Nutritionist, CH&CO; John Pratten (Chair), Former Bursar of Box Hill School and past Chair of the ISBA; Tim Baker, Head Teacher, Chartwell Manor Primary School; Garry Ratcliffe, CEO, The Galaxy Trust; Louisa Vicaria, HE Programme Area Leader – Culinary Arts & Culinary Health and Nutrition, Westminster Kingsway College; Juliane Albrecht, Head of Patient Support Services, The Cleveland Clinic, as well as a strong support team from CH&CO.

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