Coronavirus: Michelin-star chefs cook free school meals

Exclusive: Chefs from the Dorchester Hotel volunteer in school kitchens in scheme to keep free school meals running 

Tes Reporter

top chefs make FSM

Chefs from some of the country's top restaurants are offering to cook free school meals in schools during the coronavirus outbreak.

The chefs, whose restaurants closed down last Friday in a bid to contain the outbreak, include two from the Michelin-starred Dorchester Hotel restaurant. 

Yesterday, the Dorchester chefs cooked a vegetarian paella with a mixed green salad and a lemony herb dressing for children at Manorfield Primary, in Tower Hamlets.

Danielle Glavin, of the charity Chefs in Schools, which is coordinating the effort, said: "They are there [at Manorfield] for the foreseeable future and the Dorchester is footing the bill.

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“In some of the schools we’re working in, more than 50 per cent of kids are on free school meals. And for some of them, it’s the only hot meal they’ll get in a day. We’re determined to keep this going.

“Of course, when you have chefs who know their stuff they can make food which is incredibly tasty.”

Some schools have been unable to carry on supplying free school meals, partly due to illness or because caterers have pulled out following the pandemic, said Ms Glavin.

That is despite schools remaining partially open for vulnerable children and those of key workers fighting the pandemic.

More than a dozen chefs have so far volunteered to help in the scheme. They include chefs from London's Ottolenghi restaurants such as Nopi, in London's Soho, as well as the River Cottage and Jamie Oliver chains.

The project is also feeding children eligible for free school meals who are not in school, whose parents can collect the food from "hubs". 

The charity says companies such as Rude Health, Wahaca and Natoora have also donated food for the project, currently in London with plans to expand nationwide.

Any chefs or companies who can offer help, or any schools which need help or which could offer their site as a hub, should visit the Chefs in Schools website.

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