Our chef trainers – Nerissa, Charlie and Adam are the backbone of our charity. They work in the schools, supporting chefs, delivering training programmes. 

To celebrate our fourth birthday – Adam shares his story of coming onboard. 

I first got involved with Chefs In Schools when I lost my job at the beginning of the pandemic. Suddenly with a lot more free time on my hands I tried to find as many places to volunteer as I could, and was handed Nicole’s contact details. The following week I was at Mandeville School helping cook a few thousand meals for families still relying on free school meals, and getting my hands dirty in the School of Food garden with Yenny, Lidka and others.

As the pandemic moved on and on, we ended up cooking in a few different school kitchens to keep the meals coming, and a real team spirit developed. We would bring bits we’d been making at home for each other to try and I started bringing in some of the soy sauces and misos I’d been making at home. Little did I know where that would lead to!

Nicole got wind of this and an impromptu meeting was set in a carpark on Upper Clapton Road, with Jacob from Woodmansterne, to talk about putting a koji lab in a school! I was blown away at the idea of introducing this into school food and education and could see how ambitious and dedicated Nicole was. 

Fast forward to the lab being installed, with shio koji, shoyu and miso being used on a school menu. It was so clear to me that I wanted to work with Chefs In Schools more fully. I’ve not looked back.

My friends are probably bored of hearing me talk about how much I love my job now! The importance of the cause is more significant than it has ever been, the work, and the impact it has, are really fulfilling. The people, both at Chefs In Schools and in the school kitchens, are inspiring and I feel very lucky to be involved with something making a real difference with people I respect and admire. 


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