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Adopt a School Trust Partners with Mental Health Unit

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Adopt a School Trust has announced a new partnership with Chelsea Community Hospital School and Chelsea and Westminster’s new Lavender Walk Adolescent Mental Health Unit.

Through the newly-formed partnership, Adopt a School London and South East Chef Lecturer, Ashley Marsh, has been delivering a series of food education sessions to the young people attending the hospital school at Lavender Walk.

The sessions have focused on topics including healthy eating and nutrition, food provenance and identification, knife skills, hygiene and food safety, as well as practical cooking activities.

The first session, which took place in early May, encouraged the students to explore food using their five senses and five tastes. Following sessions have seen the young people make dishes such as a black quinoa salad; an asparagus, mushroom, and thyme risotto; and a cauliflower, asparagus, and salmon tart. All of the sessions teach the students how to handle a knife safely, basic food hygiene and safety knowledge, and how to use various food preparation techniques.

Chef Ashley Marsh said: “These sessions are delivered to individuals who have faced difficulty in life and if we can help take away that feeling from them for any period of time, or even help them on their way to recovery, then that’s all I can ask for.”

The partnership was developed following a recommendation from John Sosna, a teacher at the new hospital unit who first experienced Adopt a School sessions when working at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital School. John recommended The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts programme to the teachers and staff at Lavender Walk as he had seen over many years how effective it was in helping to enrich and enliven the curriculum in his previous post.

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