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Chef serves up school dinners success story
WHEN people think back to their school dinners, uninspiring, tasteless meals come to mind.
But for children at Rose Hill Primary School, in years to come they will remember home-cooked roast dinners, fresh fruit and vegetables and even Thai chicken curry.
Since the school in The Oval employed its own chef in January last year, the number of meals served has increased by more than a third, from about 670 per week in December 2011, to about 900 per week in the last month.
The school has 396 pupils and charges £2 a meal – 85p of which is spent on food.
School manager Charmaine Swift said: “The difference is that we know our children are getting good quality meals that are nutritionally balanced and prepared fresh.
“Taking charge means we can do it as we want and can change what we want when we want.”
The school employs the chef, an assistant cook and three kitchen assistants.
Previously, the school paid Oxfordshire County Council’s contractors, but would not have control over who was employed or the menus.
Chef Boguslaw Malarski, who has previously worked in kitchens in five star hotels, said: “The reward for me is the kids’ smiling faces.
“When they are happy I am happy as well.”
The children grow their own vegetables, which can be used, and the meat is bought from Oxford Covered Market’s John Lindsey & Sons.
Mr Malarski reported a drop in the number of school dinners served following the horsemeat scandal and as a result he substituted beef dishes with chicken last week.
The chef, who lives in Abingdon but is originally from Poland, said: “We decided to do this for one week. I am really happy with our local butcher. I make sure all the meat coming in is pure.”
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Sam Henry said: “Schools are not bound to take the meals service provided through the council’s contract with Carillion.
“They have a choice. Rose Hill School has obviously found a different option that is proving to fit the bill for them.”