Tutor returns the favour to childhood charity

News News & events

04 Dec 2013

Professional Cookery Tutor Paul Robinson recently helped run a “shared food experience” at Cholmondeley Children’s Centre, which cared for him for a period as a child.

Robinson helped staff provide the food event as part of the childcare centre’s new care and education programme.

The Cholmondeley Children’s Centre provides short term planned and emergency respite care for children aged between 3 -12 years old, or 5 - 12 while at Living Springs, and provide support for their families or carers.

Robinson says he wanted to provide a community opportunity which would “encourage and foster sustainable food sharing experiences in the future”.

“It’s not all about the food and the food flavour. It’s about sharing valuable food experiences.”

As part of the day he wanted to interest children in cooking, encourage children to make healthy food choices and discuss the idea that food can assist in developing important social skills.

“Research shows that if children learn about food choices early they will make better decisions later on,” he says.

The shared food event was held last month at Cholmondeley on Banks Peninsula.

The children’s dining experience began with shared soup which they enjoyed with freshly baked rolls. The soup had a tomato base and the children added their own preferences from a range of shared ingredients, Robinson says.

“They could add different flavours that they wanted and learn about the different types of ingredients in an interactive way.”

The soup was followed by a “dessert adventure” where children explored and “awakened the senses”, by using a selection of sauces and coulis to make appetising sweet treats.

Robinson says the day was a great success.

Paul Robinson 

Professional Cookery Tutor Paul Robinson gets ready to prepare food for the kids.

“They came up to me afterwards and said they loved it. It was really touching.”

Robinson says it was a “particularly special” event for him because of his history with the children’s centre.

“It was full circle for me, having been at the Cholmondeley Children’s Centre myself some nearly five decades ago.”

Sarah Vidette says the children were “totally engaged” as Robinson showed them how much fun the Community Shared Experience and how wonderful and creative food can be.

Cholmondeley Integrated Services Manager, Edwina Poynton, said food was considered a very important aspect of every child’s experience at Cholmondeley.

“Paul provided them with the knowledge and skills to choose healthy everyday foods and turn them into something inviting and tasty,” she says.

“Many of the children were trying these foods for the first time whilst for others it was experiencing familiar ingredients cooked in a different way. Paul highlighted the importance of presentation and the children loved the opportunity to discover and show their creativity.”

A special thanks to Nigel Gallienne and his team from CPIT’s engineering department who helped Robinson create shared soup cup holders created from the damaged quake guttering and to Marjory Hindes and Nicky Churton from CPIT Word Processing, who helped to develop the design for the labels for the first soup prototypes.