Caraher, M., Wu, M. & Seeley, A. (2009). ACA chefs adopt a school: An evaluation (Report No. 9781900804431). London: Centre for Food Policy, City University.
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This document summarises an evaluation of a cooking in schools initiative called Chefs Adopt a School (CAAS) which is delivered by the Academy of Culinary Arts.1 At present, sessions are provided all over England from Cumbria to Cornwall subject to demand and resources (with a few sessions being delivered in Scotland too). Annually, 21,000 children take part in the initiative. Delivered by professional chefs, the programme aim is to teach children about food, food provenance, health, nutrition and cookery. The evaluation was informed by a rapid systematic review of the existing literature on cooking in schools.
This research has been carried out at a time when cooking in schools is being put forward as a solution to improving diets and reducing obesity. It is currently the only evaluation of school cooking in the UK that measures outcomes that impact on health, such as: eating behaviour, cooking confidence and confidence asking for fruit, vegetables and ingredients at home. As such, it can inform future UK school cooking initiative interventions and evaluations. It also highlights the need to incorporate evaluation into school cooking initiatives, as findings provide valuable information necessary to fine tune an
In the core programme, chefs link with local schools, usually primary, where they deliver 2-3 sessions to one year group within a school. This process is then repeated each year. Key issues covered include hygiene, healthy eating, an appreciation of food through the senses (particularly taste) and practical cooking/food preparation. The first session covers healthy eating and the sensory appreciation of food while the second and third sessions are practical.
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