School chef gets a taste of the Orient

Tony Mulgrew on his visit to Japan.
Tony Mulgrew on his visit to Japan.

It was a case of east meets west when Ravenscliffe High School’s award winning chef Tony Mulgrew was invited to visit a school in Japan.

Tony, former catering manager at Todmorden High School, visited the Yokohama International School and spoke to staff, parents and students about the link between a school’s kitchen and the education of pupils.

Tony Mulgrew on his visit to Japan.

Tony Mulgrew on his visit to Japan.

Tony has previously won a national competition last year as part of National School Meals Week and won the prestigious Cook of the Year title at the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Award in 2014.

He spoke to more than 300 members of the school community over his five-day stay and says he was impressed by the level of interest show in what was being served in the kitchen.

“On the plane over I was nervous and wondering what I’m about to embark upon, but this fear was soon changed to excitement upon walking into the kitchen.

“There were smells of fresh baked breads and pastries in the air and the team getting ready for another busy lunch, someone taking the time to put char-grilled markings on flour tortillas before filling with fresh vegetables, hummus, meats and homemade dressings, another picking through herbs brought in from the school garden.

Tony Mulgrew on his visit to Japan.

Tony Mulgrew on his visit to Japan.

“I quickly realized that this was no ordinary school kitchen and was going to be an interesting place to be for the next week.

“The first thing that caught my eye was the quality and shear volume of fresh produce arriving. All this was to be cooked and served the same day.

“A passionate team of professionals from all parts of the world working as a well oiled machine, a kitchen coalition of nationalities, languages and skills.

“The week flew by. Every day was full but I did get to see some cherry blossom in the evening and eat out at some fantastic restaurants.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the Dragon Dining team for inviting me, and I must give a special thank you to the PTSA, Head of School Mr Coutts and all the school’s faculty and students for giving me such a warm welcome and a memorable trip. I loved every minute of it.”