Redcliffe Children’s Centre and Nursery School in Bristol are delighted to announce that they have just been awarded Best Nursery Food in the Nursery World Awards. This award, which recognises the best in national childcare practice, was awarded to the Centre for the Food Project which encourages children aged 2–4 to develop a positive relationship with healthy food through hands on Experimental Cookery sessions, growing fresh produce and eating home-made healthy meals. The Food Project began in 2006 as a 5x5x5=creativity research project which was a collaboration between the Children’s Centre team, especially Head Elizabeth Carruthers and educator Carole Keane, and chef Jo Ingleby. Jo now cooks lunch and tea from scratch every day with a growing team of chefs including Clare Devonald, who attended the nursery herself (as did her three children) and Food Apprentices Emily Shelton, Alison Pyle and Hazel Wilcox. The team run food sessions for the children all week every week and also grow and pick fresh produce at Windmill Hill City Farm.
This is the latest award for the Children’s Centre, in 2015 head-teacher Elizabeth Carruthers won the BBC Local Food Hero Award and last year the Centre’s chef Jo Ingleby won the prestigious BBC Cook of the Year award in the Food and Farming Awards. Jo was also a finalist for the Guild of Food Writers ‘Inspiration’ Award. The ethos at Redcliffe is to allow children to explore in a multi-sensory way, using their own imaginations and ideas, they describe this as Experimental Cookery and the children can really cook in their child height kitchen! The children explore fresh seasonal produce rather than making cakes and biscuits. As a National Teaching School, Redcliffe also offer professional development and an accredited course for practitioners in Experimental Cookery so that other settings can start a food project of their own.