In 2019, LEYF established the first-ever Early Years Chef Academy. The purpose of the Chef Academy is to ensure more children are getting the healthy, nutritious food they need to grow and learn, by training chefs with expertise in Early Years nutrition.
Nurseries have a unique opportunity to influence the daily health, nutrition, and ongoing eating habits of our children by providing them with up to three meals and two snacks per day. Research tells us that our long-term health is built before we are five years old.
LEYF understands that eating a balanced diet of fresh food in the right quantities is crucial to this.
However, this impact is not widely acknowledged enough, and too little emphasis is put on Early Years nutrition. There are no regulations on what food children can be served in Early Years settings, or what kind of training Early Years chefs should have. As a result, 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they start school.
At LEYF, healthy eating and nutrition has always been central to the “Safe Fit and Healthy” strand to our pedagogy, and cooking well-balanced meals by in-house chefs is part of LEYF’s ethos.
Beyond teaching the chefs how to cook delicious and nutritious food, the training is designed to embed healthy practice throughout the nurseries and their wider communities. For example, the Chef Academy includes training to:
Following an early successful pilot within LEYF nurseries, and with generous support from Impact on Urban Health, we are now opening up enrolment for the Early Years Chef Academy to all nurseries and chefs working with under 5s.
If you are interested in training with us, partnering with us, or keeping in touch, please contact our Chef Academy Project Lead, Thomas Abrams at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!