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Cook It Forward Visits Galway

As part of our Cook it Forward project, transnational meeting we were invited to bring our partners to Kai Galway, where owner, chef, inventor, creator, educator and community activist Jess Murphy gave us a lesson in how to involve students in their culinary heritage. Kai is the Maori word for food and in 2011 they opened the door with a simple formula — high-quality produce, preferably organic or wild, sourced locally and cooked intelligently.

Jess, along with a TY career guidance councillor in her neighbourhood school, Coláiste Iognáid Galway,  developed a school garden for TY students. The garden is a simple idea but one that produces many rewards. Jess and the students grow herbs and vegetables that can then be used used in Kai.  The students have direction and purpose while simultaneously giving them an oasis of calm in their busy and confusing lives. They are developing practical skills and knowledge, which they can use going forward.

We’d love to see a similar idea in other schools around Europe.

Cook it Forward is primarily aimed at vocational school students in hospitality and cooking, as well as their teachers. The project will also reach out to the world of work, building alliances with the restaurants, food companies, caterers, farmers, producers and local authorities who can truly impact the world that students will graduate into.

The project will develop a number of practical tools to help vocational colleges and regions on their way. A teachers’ guide will equip educators with the framework they need to help their students discover culinary heritage, alongside learning materials for students. The project will also create a toolkit for food companies to help them connect with vocational talent, plus a guide for vocational colleges on how to set up Regional Culinary Heritage Alliances to make sure their work really connects with their region.

Although the impacts of the project will be felt on a regional level, the project is truly European: partner organisations and students will learn from each other, with examples and inspiration being drawn from across the continent. Cook It Forward will also offer students and teachers the chance to connect on a European level. Teachers will travel to Friesland in the north of the Netherlands to learn from one another and an international learning week will bring students together in Galway, Ireland.

Culinary heritage, innovation, practical skills and students from across Europe working together: in the coming years we hope to prove that Cook It Forward is a real recipe for success.

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