Rockliffe Hall’s Orangery kitchen team recently took part in National School Meals Week by hosting a school chef for the day.

Organised by LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education) and now in its fourth year, the Host a School Chef programme offers school chefs the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the catering industry, in some of the most celebrated restaurants in the country.

On Thursday 16th November the 4 AA Rosette Orangery restaurant welcomed school chef Tracey Robson from contract caterers Taylor Shaw.

Richard Allen, Executive Chef at The Orangery, said: “We are delighted to support LACA National School Meals Week and believe it is a great initiative. School chefs are often the unsung heroes of the catering industry, yet do a vital job in ensuring that millions of children every day are eating a heathy, nourishing meal. I am a firm believer in sharing knowledge and improving skills, which ultimately benefit all.

“We made sure Tracey received a warm welcome and enjoyed the best culinary experience possible in the time she spent with us. Clearly it was a very different experience to what Tracey does on a daily basis and she approached it with great enthusiasm, skill and a desire to take back to her schools as many new ideas as she could. My team and I thoroughly enjoyed having her with us and there is no doubt that education catering is in very good hands if Tracey is the yardstick.”

Tracey said: “I have had the most wonderful day. To work in such an incredible environment was absolutely brilliant and to see the kitchens and equipment they have was just amazing. I must thank everyone in the kitchen for making me feel a part of the team from the moment I came through the door. I now have an idea what it takes to run a restaurant that enjoys such a wonderful reputation: but to maintain that standard year in year out takes an extremely high level of commitment and skill.”

LACA Chair of Events Neil Porter added: “It is tremendous for LACA North East to be celebrating National School Meals Week (NSMW) with a placement for our ‘Host a School Chef’ initiative at one of the leading hotels in this part of the world. On behalf of the LACA board and all concerned with NSMW, we would like to thank Richard Allen and his colleagues at Rockliffe Hall for being so inclusive and extending an invitation for a school chef to join them in the kitchens of this outstanding venue.”

“School caterers do a great job and school meals have improved beyond all recognition over the past few years thanks to their efforts and the desire to give our children consistently good healthy food on a daily basis. It speaks volumes that School Chefs are recognised for having the skills and professionalism to work alongside haute cuisine chefs such as Richard.”