Support International School Meals Day

Join the efforts to celebrate school food on ISMD. Read on for some recipes that are sure to get your school staff and pupils talking. For more resources, check out ISMD website . And if you’re a school who’d like to know more about the school food standards and what works well, read more here.

School chefs in London, Sheffield and Bournemouth will be cooking these dishes to mark ISMD. We hope you’ll try them at your schools. If cook these dishes, follow and tag us on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #ISMD and let us know what the pupils thought.

If ISMD gets you excited about school food, why not order a copy of our cookbook – which celebrates the people working in school kitchens and the incredible dishes they’ve created! Every sale supports our charity.

“School food, for us, is always more than just a meal. It is a chance to fuel the future and pass on knowledge. Every school lunchtime offers an opportunity to teach children about food. Curiosity can be fired up by seeing a new ingredient or trying a twist on a favourite dish. This is why we believe so passionately in ensuring all school kitchen teams are given the training, support and tools they need to cook exciting, fresh food that children look forward to eating.

To celebrate International School Meals Day, we are sharing one dish which never fails to spark conversations at schools. And, also, a plate of food which shows how lunch can celebrate those in the school community.”

Nicole Pisani

Our co-founder on why everyone should celebrate ISMD 2022.

Toni’s Jollof Rice

This dish was added to the menu at Gayhurst Community School, part of the LEAP Federation, in Hackney, back in 2014.

Nicole says – I had only just moved into school food then, having been Head Chef at NOPI. I’d wanted to change my focus and find a role that gave something back. When I arrived as Head Chef, at Gayhurst, the multicultural kitchen were battling to cook British food for a diverse school community. When I suggested they cook a menu from home, Toni – a school kitchen assistant, made her jollof rice and it went down a storm. It’s been on the menu ever since.

We’ve found this dish never fails to create conversations in school kitchens – how people cook it at home, or which restaurants serve the best version, or little twists you can try. It is perfect for allowing creativity and the sharing of ideas.

This International School Meal Day – we’re looking forward to seeing how schools tweak this recipe, if they add different vegetables, fish, chicken, or a cheese like halloumi, to the dish. And, of course, we are keen to hear what the children say about it.

Here’s how to cook it for 100 children.

Pav Bhaji

This dish started as a thank you.

Covid had left the kitchen team at St Ann’s School short-staffed. Anthony stepped up to be their assistant for a little while. To thank him, Head Chef Grace and Sous Chef Alex made a meal in his honour – Pav Bhaji, one of his favourite dishes from back home in Mumbai. Sous Chef Alex said it was one of the most enjoyable school lunches he’d made. For pudding, they had Sevia – a cardamom vermicelli noodle dish.

The team at St Ann’s have often served celebratory dishes, called community meals, for members of staff. They’ve cooked Sudanese food to honour Salma – serving up okra stew, fattoush and vine leaves. For Troy, they cooked his favourite recipes from Taiwan – three-cup chicken with rice and greens. Homemade fresh silken tofu, drenched in cool ginger syrup.

And they like to grow food too – a herb garden has been created on the grounds.

St Ann’s is a SENS school where they’ve decided to put food at its heart. We love the work they do here and hope to share more recipes with you for next International School Meals Day!

Here’s how to cook Pav Bhaji recipe for 100 kids.

At St Ann’s they use dessert spoons as they have so many lying around!

If you do cook these dishes – follow and tag us on Instagram and Twitter. Using the hashtag #ISMD

And most importantly – enjoy!

Try Toni’s Jollof Rice recipe at home, served with chicken, here is a more detailed version from Chefs in Schools cookbook Feed Your Family.

Click the download button for a more detailed version from Chefs in Schools cookbook Feed Your Family.