“I would like to learn more about how to cook because I am really interested in being a chef”, says six-year-old Annabel Main. “It was really exciting when Craig came to visit us even though we could only wave at him. We also got to watch him on the big screen in our classroom”.
Craig Wilson, aka the Kilted Chef, and chef patron of Eat on the Green, has launched a Kilted Kitchen Learning Project in partnership with Alford Primary School in Aberdeenshire. It’s designed to inspire children to enjoy eating and cooking, or think about a career in hospitality. The initiative is underway and will continue into next year.
As part of the project, the chef has created a series of films aimed at nursery to primary seven age, which explore the Kilted Chef’s career trajectory and how he developed his interest in food. The children will also learn about local produce - in his restaurant, Craig uses suppliers including Ian Burnett Chocolatier and IJ Mellis. Also, so they can discover a few budding Monicas and Greggs, teachers will take part in a MasterChef style challenge, which will be judged by children. He hopes that someone will have the light bulb moment that he once experienced.
“At school I wasn’t hugely academic but on a school trip to France, we had the opportunity to visit a food market”, he says. “We bought produce and prepared a dish, and this really cemented my love of cooking”.
However, his lessons will also look at themes including family and feelings, in relation to food.
This will include the creation of a Warm and Fuzzy Cookbook, which will feature pupils’ favourite comfort food dishes. (We imagine fish and chips might feature heavily). In virtual sessions with Craig, he will also challenge students to share their “food heroes”, which could be a parent, social media star or sweet shop proprietor. The Kilted Chef’s hero was his grandmother.
“I often used to spend time with her, taking what fruit my Grandfather had picked that day and turning it into delicious puddings, jams and cakes”, he says. “Having that exposure so early on in my life inspired me to become a chef”.