From Crop to Consumption

Thousands of Birmingham students swap pens for pans for cook-a-long with Michelin Star chef

More than 1,000 school children from across Birmingham are set for a cookery lesson with a Michelin Star twist, as Glynn Purnell leads this year’s Health for Life Cookathon.

Starting at 10am on Tuesday 11th February, the Saturday Kitchen favourite will be joining students at Birches Green Infant School for a hands on cookery demo, whilst all the other schools taking part will be following along via a special step-by-step video guide.

Over 180 schools are part of the Health for Life programme, an initiative designed to encourage healthy eating, physical activity and growing food in primary and nursery schools. As part of the programme, children learn how to cook and grow their own fruit and vegetables which equips them to lead a healthier lifestyle. Many schools set up new cooking classrooms which they will be using when making their soup.

Glynn Purnell, who has held a Michelin Star for Purnell’s since 2009, has designed a special Health for Life soup to be made at the Cookathon that will feature vegetables that many schools have grown themselves, and using skills that the programme has taught them this year.

The recipe won’t just be available to the budding young chefs either. Mondelēz International, which funds Health for Life, will be sharing the recipe and video link to its UK colleagues so they can cook the soup at home with family and friends.

Health for Life is delivered in schools by Services for Education and has been running in Birmingham for nine years. So far, 182 schools and nurseries have been part of the initiative since its inception, giving them the support and funds they need to provide facilities and change their curriculum to embed healthier lifestyle activities. Services For Education will also be serving the soup in its offices on Cookathon day.

Glynn Purnell said: “It is vitally important that children learn to cook and eat healthily from an early age. There are whole generations of young people who arrive at their first home or at university and struggle to boil an egg!

“Health for Life is exactly that – it teaches lifelong skills and habits that these students will use every day. It’s refreshing to see the art of cooking being taught, and I’m proud to have helped all of these students.”

Dr Sandra Passmore, Senior Advisor at Services for Education, said: “Health for Life has helped thousands of children to lead a more active lifestyle, and the Cookathon is a great way of showcasing everything they’ve learnt.

“Seeing how excited Glynn is about being involved is amazing. When our work is supported by such fabulous chefs like Glynn Purnell, there is no finer stamp of approval. I’m certain that Glynn and the pupils will teach each other a lot as well!”