Dear Passionate Cooks of Perthshire,
My name is Graeme Pallister. I’m the chef owner of 63 Tay Street restaurant in Perth’s city centre and a member of Slow Food UK’s Chef Alliance.
Noting a well-publicised trend around the world, children are being educated on home-cooking less and less, and have lost a connection with food like the one we had growing up with our granny’s soup. For too many children, mealtimes mean fast food or ready meals and an almost non-existent relationship with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Over the past four years I have developed and maintained a cooking programme with the staff of Moncrieffe Primary School, where my two children attend. Through lots of hard work and determination, we have developed a flourishing vegetable garden, raised £10,000 to build a kitchen within a classroom, trained staff and developed a food study. Whilst this is a great achievement, just one primary school is benefitting. I want to see this happening in all Perthshire primary schools.
I need your help for the next stage. I would like to achieve the same for all primary schools that feed into Perth High. There are 15 in total, including Moncrieffe Primary, located in and around Perth. If this is successful, we will have a programme ready to roll out to all primary schools in Perthshire, and beyond.
Every child has the right to a food education that goes beyond the ‘healthy eating’ basics. They should learn that food is not just fuel; it’s an integral and crucial part of our social structure, with many psychological factors to consider also. Developing a good bond with food can have a positive impact, not just for the individual child, but also for the family around them.
You may ask why a chef is getting involved; surely I should leave this to teachers and people in education. Well, I’m a father, and it matters to me what my children learn in school. And a big part of my job is teaching the next generation of chefs. When you touch someone’s life with food education, at any level, the reward is significant. At the risk of sounding too idealistic, it really is life-changing.
Please join me in my quest. I need cooks at any level, of any age, to help me kick-start the next stage. If you can spare a few hours a month, give me a ring at the restaurant on 01738 441451 and we can have a chat.
Thanks for reading.