With the new academic year just started, it’s not just pupils, parents and teachers who are getting ready for the term ahead. For chefs working in the education sector, the new year provides a chance test the waters with new recipes, try out different ingredients, and introduce new dishes to the lunch menu.
To help education caterers go beyond the tried and tested classics, McCain Foodservice have put together a list of their top tips to try out this term. Take a look at some of McCain’s tips below, and head here to read their recommendations in full.
Head to the High Street
A recent survey has suggested that when it comes to food, younger generations are now more adventurous, with children being 41% more likely to try new foods than their parents. This means is that if you’re really looking to increase uptake this year, and get pupils engaged with the food you’re cooking, it’s a good idea to look to the trends now firmly embedded on the high street.
Take well known high street flavours and deliver them in an accessible, nutritious way, like our Piri Piri Pork and Potatoes; a quick to prep casual inspired one pot meal that can be served alongside salad or vegetables, or plated up as a quick to eat grab and go option.
Get Inspired by Street Food
Meals that can be quickly picked up and eaten on the go continue to be popular in schools, with “grab and go” options perfect for the demands of a busy day. At this this year’s LACA event, we gave a street food flavour to grab and go, presenting three on trend alternatives to more the traditional options. For an easy example, take a look at the Aloo Kofte “Bhangra Balls” we served up alongside street food trader Jon Knight.
Jon’s Bhangra Balls are made with McCain Simply Mash, cheese, store cupboard spices and yoghurt; ingredients that most kitchens should easily have to hand. Served on their own or on top of a green salad, street food inspired options like this are great for adding a little variety to grab and go.
Give a Twist to Old Favourites
Using tried and tested recipes as a base for creating new lunch options can be a safe way to introduce new offerings. By reworking components of recipes into something new, you can keep hold of the familiar character and flavour the original dish, whilst piquing interest with a new menu addition.
At this year’s McCain One Pot Meal Competition, winner Rose Khan won over the judges with her Chicken Bolognese and Potato Cakes, a deconstructed take on the classic Bolognese sauce. The McCain Simply Dice potato cakes in the dish hold well and make a great alternative to pasta, whilst chicken provides a leaner protein packed replacement for the more traditional beef mince. This template can easily be applied to other favourite recipes with similarly great results. For example, instead of serving with rice, top chilli con carne with mash, or tikka masala with diced potato, then bake in the oven as a warming one pot meal.
If you’d like more inspiration for the new school year ahead, why not take a look at McCain’s full list of recipes for schools.