The first ever graduates of the William Jackson School Chef training programme celebrated their milestone this week.

Nine school chefs from across Hull were put through their paces on a training programme created for school kitchen teams, each coming away with tips and tricks that will help them fuel the future.

The training is delivered by the charity Chefs in Schools and funded by the William Jackson Food Group (WJFG).

The graduates celebrated in suitable style by attending a bakery masterclass at the Group’s Hull bakery, Jacksons. It was a fitting end to the course which teaches the basics of nutrition, as well as how to cut waste, cope with rising food prices and to meet the school food standards.

Chef Trainer Louis said, “Seeing the transformation in the chefs’ approach to their role as chef educators was a highlight for me. Their ambition to challenge themselves and elements of their catering provision where it needed addressing, was courageous. It was a pleasure to train, support and get to know the group and we all look forward to continuing our guidance beyond the programme.”

To celebrate their achievements and dedication through the programme, Jacksons held the graduation event at their Derrington Street site. Graduates were treated to a Baking Masterclass, where they learnt baking skills, and produced bread loaves and buns in the development kitchen with the New Product Development team at Jacksons.

Following the baking class, participants were given a tour of the factory facility while their bread was proved and baked.

William Jackson Food Group is a family business which has been in the city since 1851. Family shareholder and former chairman, Christopher Oughtred, awarded certificates to celebrate participants completion of the Chef Educator Programme.

Mr Oughtred said: “A community should be a better place for having one of our businesses in it and I think the work we have done in partnership with Chefs in Schools is a good example of this. We are a food business and our charity work focuses on food education and food poverty, so supporting the brilliant school chefs who are trying to do their best to give children a nutritious hot lunch, is a great addition to the work we’ve already been doing with bread donations to school breakfast clubs. Having spent a morning with the school chefs participating in this course, I can strongly recommend it to others from across the city who are passionate about giving children the best school lunch they can.”

The schools are now eligible to apply for grant funding towards running a food education project. The grants will be used to purchase equipment and resources that will help their kitchen teams to run a food education project at their schools. This could be equipment for running a cooking class, or the resources and tools to start a herb garden.

Applicants for the next training course are being sought. It begins in Hull in February. Schools do not need to contribute to the cost but must enable staff to attend one hour session a week for eight weeks and one in person masterclass.

The course is suitable for all school kitchen staff and set ups – catered in house or outsourced.

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Notes for editors

About Chefs in Schools

  • Chefs in Schools was established in June 2018 with the aim of transforming food, food culture and food education in schools through training, guidance and support.
  • The charity works hands-on in schools in London, the South West and Yorkshire – reaching tens of thousands of pupils each day, targeting areas with high levels of socio-economic deprivation, aiming to reduce food poverty, child obesity and malnutrition.
  • Chefs in Schools has shown it’s possible to make exciting, creative school meals for as little as 75p in primary schools and 90p in secondary schools.
  • Chefs in Schools was co-founded by Henry Dimbleby, co-author of the School Food Plan, author of the National Food Strategy and co-founder of Leon Restaurants, Nicole Pisani, former Head Chef at Nopi, and Louise Nichols, Executive Head Teacher of the Leap Federation of Schools.
  • The charity is backed by some of the country’s leading food influencers, including Prue Leith, Thomasina Miers and Yotam Ottolenghi.

About the William Jackson Food Group

  • William Jackson Food Group is a 172-year-old family business which was started when William Jackson opened a grocery shop in Scale Lane, Hull, in 1851. Today, the Group owns four food businesses – Abel & Cole, Belazu, Wellocks and Jacksons, which was built on Derringham Street in Hull more than 100 years ago.
  • Still owned by William Jacksons family, the business prides itself on playing its part in the local community, focussing on food poverty and food education.