Eleven Wairarapa and Wellington secondary school teachers will be spending the day as students as part of a teacher upskilling masterclass at UCOL Wairarapa today.
The masterclass is the result of a $15,000 grant from the Hospitality Training Trust for UCOL to provide master classes in hospitality to Secondary School Teachers in Wairarapa, Palmerston North and Whanganui.
The UCOL Wairarapa masterclass has been designed with an aim to educate and explore new innovative healthy options for teachers to implement into classrooms for the benefit of today's youth and families.
UCOL Wairarapa Chef Lecturer Kiri MacDonald says that she is keen to see people return to home cooking using fresh local products, supporting local businesses, health and the environment at the same time.
"I would love for people to recognise that what they put into their body has a health consequence. You literally are what you eat, so reading labels and making choices based on the nutritional payoff is so important. Holistically we have to look at the social and environmental effect our food choices are having, using less packaged food and supporting local economy by buying local products is another important factor to consider."
During the masterclass Kiri will take the teachers through a range of healthy alternatives to common snacks and meals, including smoothies over milkshakes and energy bars over packaged muesli bars.
"I was lucky to have an Australian grandmother of German descent who had a passion for cooking which she passed on to me. I was exposed to lots of different types of cooking and I would like more people to see that you can actually make foods at home that are worlds apart from the stuff you buy in stores."
Teachers will also learn how to make healthy option cakes, crackers and snacks – as well as getting a taste of learning a vocational subject.
Teachers from all secondary schools in Wairarapa and two schools in Wellington will be attending the classes.