Monday, September 13, 2010

Diary date: Week of Tastes (14-24 October)

Week of Tastes, a fantastic food related initiative targeted at 8 and 9 year old children, runs from 14-24 October. I’m delighted to be involved this year. It’s always great to go somewhere you have a connection and my great nephews attend the infants department of Willoughby Public School, so that’s where I’m headed to give a lesson.

I have long believed on exposing kids to different flavours and cuisines and engendering a love of new foods. When my kids were at pre-school I went and taught pasta making to 4 year olds – and how positively they responded! Therefore I’m committed to educating everyone, especially children, on making good and informed food choices, the enjoyment of cooking and the hospitality of the table.

A little bit of history … Week of Tastes is based on a French program that has been running across Europe and the US for 20 years. There are two elements: the teacher delivers an introductory lesson covering food appreciation and good health through a series of experiential exercises and cooks or chefs follow up with further, more specific education about the world of taste, food and cooking.

Briefly Week of Tastes aims to:

* Develop children’s relationship with food and address some habits that might contribute to obesity.
* Create positive associations with the process of food creation, taste and the act of making good food choices.

The lesson plan delivered by the teacher contains some lessons for us all:

* An understanding of how the senses affect both taste and appreciation of food
* Expanding your food vocabulary
* Developing positive attitudes towards trying new foods
* The link between food and good health

How are these for comments from children, teachers and chefs:

"I also learned that even though something doesn’t look good, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. It was an adventure for my taste buds." Zak, grade 4 student, Hunters Hill Primary

"We feel the multi-sensory learning experiences were so successful that we plan to extend the program in 2010." Debbie Campbell, teacher at Redlands College

"The teacher was provided with lesson plans that integrated the health strand of PDHPE with Science and English. A highlight of the week was a visit from a French pastry chef. He talked about different types of pastry and methods of preparation. He also brought samples for the students to try! The children presented an assembly item at the conclusion of this week. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the students, the teacher and the parents. If you have the opportunity to participate in this program I strongly encourage you to do so." Amanda Donlan, principal at Northbridge Primary

"Programs like the Week of Tastes help to instil in growing children the importance of good health and understanding of where our food comes from. I think taste education programs are so important. Food appreciation started young will result in healthy happy kids." Pete Evans, chef, My Kitchen Rules

Look at these pictures from Week of Tastes 2009

Chef Peter Evans at Bondi Primary

Chef Kylie Kwong at St Francis Paddington

If you are a teacher, chef or child and want to be involved visit

Or maybe I’ll see you at Willoughby Primary on Friday 22 October at 10am!

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