Michelin-starred chef gives pupils lessons in cooking

Tom Kitchin with pupils Andrew Melville, Liam McDermid, Tom Kitchin, Ronald Devlin and Stuart Ainslie
Tom Kitchin with pupils Andrew Melville, Liam McDermid, Tom Kitchin, Ronald Devlin and Stuart Ainslie
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PIGS’ heads, oysters and poached rhubarb may not be standard dishes served up in school dinner halls.

But youngsters from Granton Primary have now got a taste for gourmet cuisine after receiving cooking lessons from one of the Capital’s top chefs.

Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin worked with pupils in his award-winning restaurant as part of a project to show the importance of eating well and cooking healthy foods.

And the youngsters were so inspired they opened up their own “Granton Gourmets” school kitchen – which Mr Kitchin was invited to officially launch. He told the Evening News: “These kids came from a lot of different backgrounds and I was really surprised by how much they knew about food and the kinds of foods they ate. It doesn’t matter where you live, it’s important to get a good start and these kids impressed me.”

The Granton pupils were invited to Mr Kitchin’s Leith restaurant earlier this year, where he introduced them to a host of unique dishes and ingredients, including live langoustines and pigs’ heads.

He added: “I gave them all a taste and I was so impressed with them. All the girls, except one, ate an oyster. Out of all the tough boys, only half of them would give it a go, though.”

The fully functioning kitchen at Granton Primary was funded by The Kitchin restaurant’s charity bursary. The school was the first ever recipient.

Mr Kitchin said: “I get asked to do so much charity work, but there’s only so much you can do so I decided to channel my energy into one particular thing. As a father myself, I really want to be able to help kids.

“I like to think my kids are being brought up on healthy eating and I want to get that message to other kids too because I really believe you are what you eat.”

His own children Kasper, four, and one-year-old Axel, are already connoisseurs of gourmet food. Kasper has grown up in the restaurant, visiting his parents after nursery and at weekends and has already developed a taste for the finer things in life.

Mr Kitchin said: “On Sunday, him and I shared our first mallard, which is a wild duck, and he also eats oysters.

“I’m aware that sometimes you have to do what you have to do and give them a bit of chocolate and ice-cream here and there, but it’s great getting kids to experience different types of foods.”

Children at Granton will be growing their own produce at the school to learn about where different fruit and vegetables come from and they will be cooking with their fare in their new kitchen. Laurinda Ramage, headteacher at Granton Primary, said: “We have a lot of children at Granton with challenging behaviour and social and emotional needs.

“The kitchen is not only going to be used to promote healthy eating and responsible lifestyle but also to help these children learn life skills and teach them about co-operating and sharing. Having Tom as a role model has really inspired and motivated the children.”