‘Please sir, I want some more’ – Sunderland school appoints top chef to cook school dinners

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“PLEASE sir, I want some more” is now a regular lunchtime request at one school.

Thanks to the appointment of a new chef, the students at Barbara Priestman Academy are loving meal times.

Following the recent change to an academy, the Meadowside school, which caters for students aged three to 19 years old who have special needs, decided to appoint a chef to make all the meals on site.

Headteacher Carolyn Barker said the appointment of Craig Davison, who also works as a lecturer, has been a huge boost.

She said: “A lot of our students are autistic and don’t like change at all, but there has been a huge, positive response to the new menus. They are really enjoying the food.”

With the arrival of Craig, the school is now running an internship scheme, and four of the sixth form boys are now working in the kitchen full-time, with a view to gaining their qualifications in catering.

The 30-year-old, who started his career at the age of 15 working in the kitchen at Hallgarth Manor Hotel, where he rose to be head chef, said his new role is certainly a challenge.

He said: “I have never done anything like this before, so it is all a big learning curve, but I am really enjoying it. It is hard work, but very rewarding as well, because the kids say they are loving the food.

“The staff are all fantastic, and have been helping me a lot.”

Craig says the lads who work with him in the kitchen are doing really well, and are keen to learn.

The chef said: “The lads are treated like members of staff and do a lot of work. They all go out one day a week to another school to see how things operate in other kitchens.

“They realise how lucky the students here are now, because we make everything fresh from scratch.”

As well as running the kitchen, Craig also does some cookery and catering teaching to the pupils.

To give the students even more experience, the school also hopes to set up a small catering business.