🔊 Dinner bell rings the changes: how new school meal ideas can help Mother Earth

WoW! News Podcast – Alastair & Clarisse tuck in to a tasty subject for World Food Day – how schools are finding ways to feed kids better, while also being kind to the planet.

Listen below to Alastair & Clarisse!

Podcast transcript, Oct. 15, 2020

A – Hello and welcome to WoW!, the positive podcast! Showing kids that there’s a lot more to the world news than bad news.

I’m Alastair. As a journalist, I’ve often written about things going wrong. But people also need to know too about what’s going right.

This week, Clarisse and I are marking World Food Day with a look at what’s cooking in school kitchens that’s not just good for our tummies but good for the planet, too.


A – Hello Clarisse!

C – Hi Alastair. What’s cooking?

A – Ha, yes, well you may ask Clarisse! Because today we’re going to be in the kitchen – and at the school lunch table…

C – Hm. Thanks, but, you know, I might prefer to go to my local restaurant. You know we eat well here in Paris…

A – Ah but Clarisse, I understand. I can tell you, when I was at school…

C – A century ago…

A – Ouch! Not true! It was last century but not a century ago! Anyway, I remember school dinners were not always something to look forward to. Have you ever heard of spam fritters?

C – Spam? Er, no. What is it?

A – To be quite honest, Clarisse, I’m not very sure. But we used to have to eat them at school. But that’s all changed for lots of kids these days.

C – So I’ve heard. People are trying to make sure children eat better at school…

A – … and that what they eat and how it’s made is better for the planet, too.

C – OK! So what’s on the menu today?

A – Well for World Food Day, we’re off to France for starters. I thought we’d call in at the schools in Mouans-Sartoux, down in the south for some crunch salads and raw veg, or as you call it in French…

C – Crudités de saison!

A – And do you know what’s special about the lettuce and grated carrots that they’re having down there? The kids have been able to watch it all grow themselves. Schools in the town have become quite famous for having their own farm. It’s totally organic so it’s much healthier – and they’re not trucking in food from far away, so there’s less global warming.

C – Cool!

A – It’s cool and crunchy! Ready for the next course?

C – Hm. I’m ready, Alastair

A – So, serving up one portion of chicken katsu with Japanese milk bread.

C – Hey, great. I love Japanese food. So this is from a school in Japan?

A – Ah no, Clarisse! We’re in London, at Woodmansterne School. We’re visiting because it’s one of a growing number of schools who are hiring top chefs to create new meals and menus that use fresh, local produce, that are much healthier for pupils and that give them an idea of different ways of eating.

C – Wow. But it sounds expensive.

A – Well, it turns out it’s not, Clarisse. Top chefs are good at making amazing stuff out of simple ingredients – it can be cheaper than buying in bulk orders of frozen pizza and other standard canteen fare ; Though not everything works. Jake, the young chef who works at Woodmansterne, once spent almost all day and night preparing a really special dish of lamb that he used to serve at the fancy London restaurant he worked at. Did the kids like it? No, “it bombed”, he said. But whatever age they are, the customer is always right. Jake’s now making other dishes that are popular – like that katsu chicken…

C – Yum! And is there anything for dessert?

A – You bet Clarisse. We’re going for a proper 3-course lunch today. But of course a lot of people feel full after two courses. Or don’t like sweet stuff. So we’re going back to France, to Orléans, for a spot of cheese for dessert.

C – Ah yes, for people who don’t like sweets…

A – Well actually there’s a choice at this school. Because they’ve came up with a great idea to cut down on food waste. You know how when you get into the canteen line with your tray and you’re feeling hungry, you tend to take everything on offer…

C – Well, Alastair, not really, but …

A – OK, well, I know that I often load up my tray a bit too much. As my mother used to says, my eyes can be bigger than my stomach. So at the school in Orléans, they’ve got a solution for people like me – a solution that’s better than throwing unwanted desserts in the bin.

C – Ah, so they recycle?

A – Sort of. Not really recycling. They have a lovely thing call the Pudding Swap Table. So everyone who’s taken a bit more than they could eat can leave their spare dessert or cheese and someone who still feels peckish can come over and pick up seconds. They’ve cut the amount of food they throw by about a third!

C – Hm, after all that, I’m feeling rather full, Alastair!

A – Well, that’s probably a good note to end on then, Clarisse. There are a lot of great solutions out there in the world of school dinners.

C – Well, you can always invite me to lunch another time, Alastair!

A – I might just do that, Clarisse. What we eat and how we eat it has a huge impact, not just on our health, but also on the planet. So there’s plenty to talk about over a good meal! It’s been great chatting, Clarisse. See you next week!

C – Thanks, Alastair. See you!

A – And thank you all for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, do share it with a friend. If you want to find out more about what’s cooking in school canteens, visit our website at wow dash news dot eu. And tell us about what’s happening at your school! That’s all for this week. I’m Alastair and I’ll be back with more inspiring solutions next week. Until then, be positive!

Alastair editor of WoW!







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