Sunderland pupils step up to the plate in burger recipe challenge

Hill View Academy pupil Abigail Dobson, 10 healthy burger winner
Hill View Academy pupil Abigail Dobson, 10 healthy burger winner

A butcher returned to his old school to teach the next generation about his craft.

John Stirk headed back to Hill View Primary to help year 6 pupils learn about the animals farmed for meat and the cuts they give.

Hill View Academy pupil Abigail Dobson, 10 healthy burger winner with runner up children.
Back from left Stirks Butchers owner John Stirk and head waiter Darryl Howard

Hill View Academy pupil Abigail Dobson, 10 healthy burger winner with runner up children. Back from left Stirks Butchers owner John Stirk and head waiter Darryl Howard

He was invited to the school to help it with this term’s tasty topic - burgers!

The school became an academy in April, which teachers say has given it more freedom within the curriculum to take classes which they know will inspire their children.

The 10 and 11-year-olds looked at how they could make healthier options than those served up by fast food restaurants, with John drafted in to give them some tips.

Now the winners of a ‘make a burger’ competition have been drawn, with pupil Abigail Dobson’s entry hailed the winner.

I did a question and answer session with the children and all of their questions were really good.

John Stirk

It will be served up for a week at John’s steakhouse restaurant, The Broadway, by head chef Craig Howlett, with Abigail and her family invited to try it for themselves as guests of the business.

The runners up were Finley Bell, Zara Hussain, Erin Snaith and Jessica Morley.

Teacher Liz Hedley said: “As I already shop at Stirks, I contacted and asked John to come in and talk to the children about the importance of supporting the local butcher and grocers, which in turn supports the local farmers.

“He did this with all 111 of our Year 6 pupils.

“He then did us a good deal for the meat for both the food tasting and the making of the burgers themselves – chicken, pork or beef.

“He also provided an amazing incentive by offering the children an opportunity to win a great prize.

“This obviously provided a lot of motivation and the children tried very hard to think of exciting and different ways to flavour and enhance their burger in a healthy way, such as low fat cheese, light mayonnaise and so on.

“At the end of the process, the children had designed, made, tasted and evaluated their burger and recorded it all in a short booklet.

“These booklets were then given to John to look through and from there he chose four runners up and the winner.”

The top entries were announced in a special assembly, where John was invited back to meet pupils again.

John, who also runs a butcher’s shop in Grangetown, said: “I did a question and answer session with the children and all of their questions were really good.

“They are very well educated and were asking a lot about different cuts from different animals and were interested in finding out more.

“Some of them recognised me from coming into the shop, which was funny.”