We’re so proud that Head Chef Russ and team at Pokesdown Primary in Bournemouth have been awarded the Rising Star award in the Jamie Oliver Good School Food Awards 2024.

It’s inspiring to see how Pokesdown Primary has transformed the approach to school meals. The combination of delicious food, hands-on education and community involvement is a winning recipe. Well done to Chef Russ and his team for making such a positive impact on the students’ lives!

Jermaine Jenas

Celebrity Judge

Chef Russ and his team work from a tiny kitchen, but it doesn’t stop them producing BIG flavour, proving you don’t need a big kitchen with fancy equipment to cook incredible food. From their one-oven space – affectionately called Pokey Kitchen – they deliver 330 delicious, nutritious school meals every day.

Championing fresh, seasonal ingredients, most of which is sourced locally, Chef Russ makes his bread from scratch, and fish and chips only make an appearance on the menu when 330 fish fingers have been made by hand – yes, you heard that right. It’s no wonder they’ve increased the uptake of free school meals to 90%. 

The delicious food is served without a dining hall. Instead, the kids set up the classrooms like restaurants, then the dishes are served up individually, once again proving that great things can be done when you think outside the box.

Chef Russ’s love for food is infectious. During the holidays he runs Viking Club, where students dress as Vikings, build a fire and cook flatbreads on it, all while learning about wholegrains, seeds, veggies and fruits. He also hosts after-school cooking classes. 

We’re honoured to have worked with Pokesdown over the years, and have gotten to see first hand the passion, ingenuity, dedication and hard work that goes into putting school food at the heart of a school, and we can’t wait to see what new heights they go on to reach.

Credit: Jim Robinson, Copyright: Jamie Oliver Production