STUDENTS at a city school are rising to the challenge of becoming expert butchers and bakers.
The pupils from Sandhill View School took part in a tour of pork butcher company, Dicksons’, production plant in South Tyneside as part of the firm’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Year 9 students from the Grindon Lane school are taking part in a school competition to design a new pie to be sold across Dicksons’ shops.
They were given a lesson in traditional butchery, showcasing different cuts of meat and where popular pork products such as ham, bacon and sausages actually come from, and found out just what it takes to make nearly 400,000 pots of pease pudding, 100,000 sausages and a further 100,000 pies a week.
Pupils met the team of expert bakers to learn how to make pastry and watched finished sausage rolls and pasties come off the production line.
Sandhill pupil Robyn Brown, 14, who learned to hand-link sausages, said: “It was great to see exactly where the food we eat comes from and to actually get involved with making some of the products.
“I hadn’t really given much thought about this before, but seeing all the hard work that goes into making the products makes them taste even better. Some people might not like to think about the actual animal they are eating, but I was amazed to see all the different cuts of meat that we get from a pig.”
Emma Blyth, the gifted and talented coordinator at the school, said: “The visit to Dicksons offered the students a fantastic insight in to food production. Getting a look behind the scenes of a local company which produces products that they know has helped the students to truly appreciate all the different elements of work that is involved and will help them hugely in the next part of the competition.”
The Design a Pie competition will involve three schools in Sunderland, South Tyneside and North Tyneside and the winning pie from each school will be chosen by a judging panel before being put forward to the public vote – the three chosen pies will be manufactured and sold in shops to let customers decide the overall winner.
Michael Dickson, managing director of Dicksons, said: “It was a real pleasure for us to welcome into our factory such an enthusiastic group of young people.
“The Design a Pie competition is meant to be a fun challenge which will help educate young people on where their food comes from, modern food processes, what it takes to bring a new product to market and the kind of careers available in business and food manufacturing.”