Rochdale school squeezes in kitchen to batch-cook for freshness

St Mary’s Primary School, Rochdale

A Rochdale primary school that previously brought in food from a satellite kitchen has taken ownership of a brand new on-site kitchen.

St Mary’s Primary School used to rely on meals being transported in from a neighbouring school, but is now able to produce freshly cooked meals in a state-of-the-art facility within the premises.

Space was tight in the school to accommodate a kitchen but staff from the council’s facilities team worked hard to maximise the footprint available, providing the school with new cooking equipment, including the latest Unox combi ovens.

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Rochdale Borough Council’s ‘Fresh Kitchen’ school catering service is running the site, ensuring that experienced catering staff are on hand to provide healthy meals freshly prepared on site.

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Our Fresh Kitchen ethos is that there is nothing better than providing consistent, high-quality, nutritious food that is appetising, freshly cooked on site and is ethically sourced.

“Providing the school with a new kitchen on site means we can now batch-cook for freshness and give the children an improved quality school lunch.”

Fresh Kitchen schools, like St Mary’s, are aiming to lead the way in offering a range of food and drinks to pupils that are lower in saturated fat, trans fats, sugar and salt.

The school has already seen an increase in the take-up of school lunches since the kitchen was installed and reported an improvement in children’s behaviour and their ability to concentrate, learn and interact with others.

The council’s Fresh Kitchens offer fruit and vegetables every day to actively promote healthier options and hold a level 5 food hygiene rating.

Meals on the new menu include options such as chicken fajita tacos, roast beef penne arrabiata, fish fingers, salmon fillet, orange and cinnamon muffins, summer fruit crumble and rice pudding.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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