While writing the School Food Plan with a colleague, Henry Dimbleby (a governor at his children’s state primary, Gayhurst Community School in Hackney) posted a tweet asking whether anyone would be interested in taking over the school kitchen. Nicole Pisani – then head chef at the acclaimed Soho restaurant Nopi – decided to take the gamble of a lifetime, applied and was offered the job by the school’s head, Louise Nichols. 


Since arriving at Gayhurst, Nicole retrained the school cooks using the restaurant brigade system. They cook everything from scratch and bake bread daily. She also took charge of the cooking curriculum, teaching the children to butcher whole chickens and cook over fire pits in the playground. This work became the model for Chefs in Schools and we now work to help other schools completely transform the standards of school food and food education.

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