Busy professional restaurant chefs are often portrayed on TV as having fiery temperaments, so having one to provide guidance and mentoring to children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties might seem surprising.
However, Nick Lowe, the head chef of The Kings Arms in Berkhamsted, has been doing just that for the children at Pathways, part of The Buckinghamshire Primary Pupil Referral Unit and the site which supports the Aylesbury Vale area.
Regularly providing guidance into such subjects as healthy eating and good ingredients, Nick’s new project has been to provide challenging new opportunities for his six young charges and this week he taught them how to make pizzas from scratch. (Photos attached).
Using the Kings Arms’ new wood-fired clay pizza oven that normally feeds the patrons of the 300-year-old Berkhamsted coaching inn, every child was involved in making the pizza dough and then shown how to turn it into traditional thin crust pizza bases.
Adding the tomato passata, mozzarella and other ingredients was next, before placing each pizza into the wood-fired oven for about 90 seconds before being served and consumed with relish.
Debbie Hirst, the pizza group’s PRU Teacher, said: “This is invaluable experience for our pupils and an opportunity they would not otherwise have had. We would like to thank Nick and the staff at the Kings Arms for their generosity in allowing our pupils to ‘work’ in the kitchen and also thank him again for taking the time to lead some inspiring cookery lessons at the PRU itself.”
Nick Lowe said: “We all really enjoyed our morning pizza workshop with the group of budding pizza chefs and found it extremely rewarding. At Oakman Inns, which owns The Kings Arms, we work hard on supporting our local communities, wherever they are. There aren’t many activities that require focus, concentration and attention to detail which are fun and where you can produce an exciting, stimulating and edible result in less than 20 minutes (well, perhaps after a bit of practice!). Our CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, has been totally supportive of this activity and I very much hope it will become a regular feature on the Pathways’ syllabus.”