Professional Masterchef winner Ash Mair, welcome aboard!

It was very exciting to receive Professional Masterchef winner Ash Mair to our Harefield Academy restaurant last Monday.

Here is a food talent who completely wowed the TV show judges with his incredible ability to bring ingredients and flavours together into original and exquisite tastes and presentations.

You know how sometimes when you watch these kinds of shows that there are some people who just seem to stand out? With Ash I had a kind of gut feeling that he would end up being crowned eventual champion of BBC’s ‘Masterchef, The Professionals’. And so it was.

His visit to our restaurant was wonderful day which started with introductions and a tour of the kitchen and service counters. This was followed by a chat with the ‘foodie’ Harefield Academy principal Lynn Gadd who was just as excited as I was to be welcoming Ash into our midst.

Then it was a chance to witness the food service in action and taste some of the food.

It was great to hear Ash talk about his recent experiences, from his start in Tasmania to his love of the Basque food tradition and then his thoughts on what we are doing at the moment.

Ash has a strong background in catering, but like so many who come in to experience our restaurants, he was somewhat amazed to see the standards that can actually be reached in school kitchens.

I’m delighted to say that he is now keen to meet with our chef teams and help us develop some very special signature dishes for our young customers.

And why exactly are we bothering to do this, you ask?

A number of reasons. Obviously it helps the profile of our company. But it is also very much in line with what Cucina is about. Why can’t school food aspire to gourmet standards?

Take this a step further back. Why is it that children’s menus in otherwise decent UK restaurants contain such paltry selections of chicken nuggets, pizza, chips and the like? How old must children be before they can make the jump from ‘dumbed down’ poor quality food to full adult menu items?

Any age, in my opinion. People should grow up savouring good food. Our school and academy chefs are showing what is possible in school food and I want the world to know about it. That’s why we’re carefully identifying the right high profile celeb chefs to work with us.

We’re on a journey, and we’re in for an exciting ride!

Till next time,

Steve

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