The twelve pupils at Lismore Primary School, near Oban were set the challenge of raising funds so that they could attend an outdoor activity week with other schools at the end of May. The Primary 5 to 7 children, all very keen bakers, came up with the idea of a cook book - but wanted to make it even more special.
They decided to reach for the stars and write to a number of celebrity chefs, explaining about their project and asking for recipes. Their ambition paid off – and the finished product is now a fantastic collection of offerings from some of the best celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs in Britain.
The Lismore School Cook Book features recipes from Delia Smith, Michel Roux Jr, Martin Wishart, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and many more. The recipes include Marco Pierre White’s Lemon Tart, Mary Berry’s Wonderful Apple Cake and Antony Worrall Thompson’s Carrot Cake Muffins.
Responding to the children’s handwritten letters, the celebrity chefs sent their own personal notes of encouragement as well as sharing their recipes. Tom Kitchin and Tom Kerridge donated signed copies of their own cook books to help the pupils’ fundraising efforts – and Antony Worrall Thompson told them he would visit them in person when he is next in Lismore!
Head teacher of Lismore Primary School, Mrs Catherine Davies, said: “This has been a fantastic learning opportunity for the children to develop many skills for life and work – including graphic design, letter writing and computer research. This is just one of the ways that our twelve pupils engage with the wider world. The children are delighted with the many personal responses from the famous chefs and are really looking forward to launching their cook book.”
Classroom assistant Hazel MacCormick, who led the enterprising project, added that it had helped the children to realise that they can achieve great things even though they belong to a small island school of just twelve pupils.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Aileen Morton, is delighted at the amazing response to the children’s cook book project. She said: “In all of Argyll and Bute’s schools we are ambitious for our young people right from the start. They are encouraged to be enterprising, to use their initiative and their imagination and to aim high. It is clear that the pupils at Lismore have really taken that to heart by reaching for the stars to produce their wonderful cook book.
“The children’s initiative has clearly inspired the celebrity chefs who have responded so enthusiastically to this project. It’s a winning combination and I am very much looking forward to trying out some of the recipes myself.”
It is not the first time that Lismore primary school has hit the headlines – last year pupils won a national competition to design their own snack as part of their drive to become a Fair Trade school. The cook book project plays a key part in this and will be launched at the school’s Fair Trade café on Friday 6th March between 1pm and 3pm.
Over the coming week the pupils will be making cakes for the event using Fair Trade products and, of course, sampling some of the recipes from the book. But in the meantime, some of the younger pupils are looking forward to trying out Jo Pratt’s Toffee Popcorn recipe – all in the interests of quality control, of course.
Chefs who sent recipes include:
Marco Pierre White’s Lemon Tart from his new book White Heat
Mary Berry’s Wonderful Apple Cake
Martin Wishart and Claire MacDonald both sent four recipes
Antony Worrall Thompson’s Carrot Cake Muffins
Michel Roux Jr
Ross Stovold for Isle of Eriska
Artwork has been donated by Australian chef Paula Rennger
Keith and Nicola Braidwood