Preparing quality, tasty lunches in bulk can also be healthy and nutritious, and it’s not expensive. That’s according to Glenn Jones, the College’s new Catering Manager. It’s not about fancy culinary skills, either, he says. “It’s about planning, knowing your ingredients, and then finding ways to put it all together and make it work within the time and budget you have.”
This expertise is what Glenn brings to the table, and the results so far have been enlightening. Last week, the aromas of India, Vietnam and Italy filled the Secondary canteen. Daily specials packed with flavour and fresh ingredients were introduced to the menu: Rogan Josh with wilted Kale, Vegetables and Basmati Rice for $6. Vietnamese Glass Noodle and Vegetable Broth with hints of ginger, garlic, coriander and chilli: only $3. This week a hearty homemade lasagne and vegetarian curry are among the specials on offer.
Tasty, healthy, affordable and appetising – all with fresh ingredients, cooked on site. “We’ve got a fantastic commercial kitchen that I’ve been able to put to good use between classes,” says Glenn. “We are working towards making almost everything here from fresh - whether it’s pizzas or the shredded chicken in sandwiches.”
And the specials will be available from the Primary canteen as well. “Kids want the ‘grown-up’ food, too,” says Jodi, who has worked in the canteen for about 12 years. “Their palates are more sophisticated than we think.” Some of the names of dishes might not be familiar to students, but Jodi, Carol and Glenn agree that parents can help unravel the mystery. “It’s important for children not only to learn to appreciate a wide variety of foods, but also to develop the courage to try new things.”
At this stage, specials for the following week will be available Friday afternoons on the Canteen page of the College website, and in Monday’s Daily Notices for Secondary students. They’re also written up on a blackboard outside both canteens. Glenn suggests parents take these opportunities to discuss lunch options with their children and encourage them to try something different.
“Of course, we could always do with a hand in the kitchen, too!” he says. He invites parents to be part of the team, to get involved and support this fresh and vibrant approach to school lunches. When parents volunteer in the canteen this term, they’ll be helping to cook rice, lay out trays of lasagne or add fresh pizza toppings, among other things - and may even bring home some ideas for dinner. “Foodies and novices are most welcome!” he says.
Whether it’s helping out in the canteen or encouraging your children to try different foods, parents play an important part in helping to build a canteen menu for students that is both healthy and delicious.