Make your nursery a leader in healthy eating and practice

Level 3 CACHE-accredited award

Introduced in 2019, Early Years Chef Academy trains Early Years chefs to ensure more children get the healthy, nutritious food they need to grow and learn. 

We train chefs to be experts in child nutrition and to help children, staff and parents build healthy habits for life.

Following successful pilots in LEYF nurseries, and with generous support from Impact on Urban Health, we are now opening enrolment to all nurseries and chefs working with children under the age of 7.

Enrol now

The course will help Early Years chefs to put this knowledge into practice in their nurseries, to ensure children get the healthiest food possible.
LEYF Chef Academy

What does certification mean for your nursery?

Impact – Gain expertise in child nutrition, portion sizes, weaning, menu planning, managing allergies and cooking nutritious and tasty food, which will help make the next generation healthier.

Leadership – Discover the tools and confidence to deliver exciting food-related activities with children, to broaden their culinary horizons and embed healthy, lifelong eating habits.

Influence – Learn how to make your nursery a hub for healthy practice, by offering nutritional advice and running food-related workshops with staff and parents.

Ambition – Your chef will improve their own skills and their value to your nursery, as a specialised Early Years chef.


Download our full course guide


What is the aim of the course?

The aim of this course is to make chefs working in Early Years experts in child nutrition and food education, to drive a holistic approach to food, which encourages children, staff and parents to develop healthier eating habits.

The course will help Early Years chefs to put this knowledge into practice in their nurseries, to ensure children get the healthiest food possible.


Chefs laughing in kitchen in Chef Academy training

Why is this so important?

Early Years chefs have a unique opportunity and potential to improve children’s health. More than a million children a year go to some kind of Early Years setting, with many of them eating all their meals a day there.

Research tells us that our long-term health is built before we are 5 years old. LEYF understands that eating a balanced diet of fresh food in the right quantities is crucial to long-term health.

Who can take part?

Any chefs or kitchen staff in nurseries can take part.

What should you expect from the course?

Participants can expect to become experts in everything from portion sizes to weaning and from menu planning to managing allergies.

We give chefs the tools and confidence to help children, nurseries and wider communities embed healthy, lifelong eating habits.

The training covers practical areas, such as adapting dishes to make them healthier, running exciting food-related activities with children and offering tips to staff and parents, so they can make healthy and delicious meals without breaking the bank.


male chef teaching a child how to cut vegetables


Course details

Timing: 15 modules

Course duration: 6 months, 2-hour sessions per week

Blended delivery: A combination of online and in-person sessions (at our training rooms and kitchen in central London)

Online delivery: Online-only course, suitable for participants outside of London

Cost: The full price of the course is £1,000, but we can offer discounts of up to 75% to non-profit nurseries and those who offer fully funded places to children. Please get in touch to enquire.


Entry requirements

To take part in Chef Academy, nurseries need to be invested in improving their food, the health of their children and empowering their chef to help make the nursery a community hub for good practice.

Nurseries will need to provide cover for learners for the 19 teaching sessions (typically lasting three hours) over the course of seven months. Course participants must have access to a laptop or tablet.


Start dates 2022

Cohort 10:

Online-only course: November 2022 – April 2023 – Wednesday afternoons

Blended course (online and in-person): November 2022 – April 2023 – Friday afternoons

Course outline


Unit 1: Understand the impact of food on health and child development

In this unit, you’ll learn why young children’s nutrition and eating habits are so important for their long-term health and development, as well as what they should be eating in a meal, day and week.

With the increase in allergies, we make sure you are well equipped to provide delicious, healthy food for all children, whatever their needs.


Unit 2: Understand the role of Early Years chefs

In this unit, you’ll learn about the role an Early Years chef can play in your nursery, to help children, staff and parents eat healthily.

This unit focuses on how you can:

  • work with others to make mealtimes nutritious and eye-opening for children
  • deliver rich experiences through cooking and other food activities
  • support parents with nutritional advice and food workshops


Unit 3: Be able to make dishes healthier, more appealing and appropriate for dietary requirements

In this unit, you’ll put the knowledge you learned in Unit 1 into practice! You’ll make sure you can prepare ingredients and meals in the right sizes for children, alter recipes and menus to deliver as much nutritional value as possible, meet different dietary needs and, importantly, ensure they taste and look appealing to children.


Chefs laughing in kitchen in Chef Academy training

Enrol now

Complete the enrolment form and we will be in touch to take payment and confirm attendance on the course.

To enquire about discounts for non-profit nurseries or those who offer fully funded places, please get in touch.


Meet our chefs

Watch our chefs prepare some nutritious recipes that our children love


Impact on Urban Health Logo

Portrait shot of Thomasina Miers

Thomasina Miers

Children eating a meal in the nursery

Food and nutrition

Healthy eating and nutrition are a priority at LEYF.

staff and children looking very curiously into a plant pot

LEYF Pedagogy

Our unique seven-strand Pedagogy is interwoven into everything we do, to give all children wonderful learning experiences every day.

Management team having a conversation

LEYF Training Academy

LEYF Training Academy is the first of its kind: a world-class academy of Early Years training and research.