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While writing the School Food Plan with a colleague, Henry Dimbleby (a governor at his children’s state primary 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 has retrained the school cooks using the restaurant brigade system. They cook everything from scratch and bake bread daily. She has also taken charge of the cooking curriculum, teaching the children to butcher whole chickens and cook over fire pits in the playground. 


This model now operates in the three Hackney schools which are part of the Leap Federation of which Louise is the Executive Head. Here, Chefs in Schools will continue to research and develop what works well in school food.