On the apparently the “most depressing day of the year “ Monday 16th January” there were reasons to feel upbeat and happy as Varndean School were kicking off their annual Food Festival, and this year there was to be a marked difference. All the dishes were Plant Based in a drive to not only recognise Veganuary but to also push forward the objectives set out in the Our City Our world Brighton schools initiative on world climate and Environment.

After a few consultations with the catering manager, Josephine Johns, and Chef Leon it was decided upon for an eclectic and fusion filled menu of Five Bean Chilli, Sweet potato and couscous falafels and mint yogurt, Leon’s Like Lasagne, “Feef” Tacos followed by a fast food frenzy of clever plant based burgers with french fries served with relish and gherkins in a very tasty bun – and you could pump the ketchup ( no nasty plastic sachets here anymore!)

The students and staff completed a survey that asked them to rank the dishes in order.

A huge thanks to the catering team who are an open minded bunch and willing to try new things and worked hard to make it happen.

I certainly enjoyed the tasty fayre and we progressed the menu ideas for the canteen offering a bit further in the right direction.

As a Food and Nutrition Teacher I am always driving home the message that a diet high in plants and whole foods is the one that our children will benefit from the most, and where meat is served we give our children less and of a better quality – like Free Range and Organically reared standards.

As a result of the Food Festival week we have new items on the menu and increased our offering of plant based / vegetarian cuisine. We plan to go red meat free and plastic free by 2024, bringing our community with us on this venture.

Tim Speller

Our City Our World Climate Strategy representative for Varndean School.

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