At the beginning of June, the school refectory turned totally vegan for the day. The school food committee decided it would be an interesting way to introduce a more plant-based diet to the whole school community. Pupils and staff were treated to an array of delicious food including sweet potato chickpea curry with pumpkin seeds, hot lentil dahl, vegan bolognese and fresh plant-based salads. Refectory staff were on hand to answer any questions pupils and staff had, as well as making sure everyone had something they could enjoy for lunch.
We caught up with Executive Head Chef at Norwich School, Thomas Kingston, who facilitated the day.
What do you enjoy most about being Executive Head Chef at Norwich School?
I have wanted to be the Executive Head Chef at Norwich School for a long time because it's a challenging and very busy kitchen, it keeps me on my toes and motivated. I'm allowed to be creative with the menus at Norwich School. I get huge support to be pushed to be the best that we can be and I really love that.
Why have we had a vegan day at the school and why is important to bring awareness of a more plant-based diet to the school community?
We have had a vegan day at the school because it's very important to show young people that food can be very healthy and taste great, without always using animals and animal products.
Mental health is a personal one for me and it's very true to say that a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind, not to mention the shocking devastation and effects that farming animals is having on our beautiful planet. To cut down from time to time, and making smart food choices, will have a very positive effect for all of us in many ways. For example less fat, lower cholesterol, less diabetes, better mental health and genuinely a healthier glowing body.
What have the challenges been?
The challenges have been, as always, catering to the masses. This is why we had 5 different hot options and a very vibrant colourful flavour packed healthy salad bar and fruit selection, to make sure everyone could have something to eat for their lunch.
How has it been received in the school?
It was mostly received by the school very well. I was asked to do it by the school food committee, as well as vegan students in the school. It's really only one lunch in a week at school without meat or animal products. It has also been a great trial run for our national climate change day next month (2nd July 2019).
What’s your favourite meal?
My favourite meal for lunch was the sweet potato and coconut curry with toasted pumpkin seeds. It was creamy and packed full of flavour and just a lovely light lunch.