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Total testimonials: 57

Gala Dinner runs for the eighth consecutive year at Wellingborough Prep School

Posted: 11 Nov 15 23:30

Wellingborough Prep School, working with Darren Tinkler of Roots to Food, hosted its latest Celebration Dinner in May of this year. This dinner has become somewhat of a prestigious event within the School's social calendar, leaving parents astounded by what their children can achieve.

The Prep School and Darren (previously of Chartwells, but now working independently under the 'Roots to Food' banner) devised the plan for the dinner when Headmaster's wife, Claire Mitchell, was asked to provide a cooking experience for all the children in Year 8. Although it had originally been thought that the cookery classes could take place in her house, Darren and Mrs Mitchell came up with the idea of a set of evening cookery master classes, followed by a celebratory dinner, delivered to the pupils' parents in a 'top notch' fashion.

During the cookery master classes, students were able to get a feel for cooking and what they might expect from working in a professional kitchen. It is at this point that each of the students is advised of their main role for the evening. All have to multi-task to ensure that all aspects of the presentation are fulfilled to a high standard.

Up to 80 children each year are given the opportunity to act as either Chef, Waiter, Sommelier, Maitre d' or a member of the Meet and Greet team. All are involved with every aspect of the delivery of this very special evening, even down to napkin art, flower arranging, photography and occasional music.

The life skills gained through the experience of working with experts in the field of catering are invaluable. Darren Tinkler has combined nutritional education, cooking skills and high expectations with a great deal of fun.

I am delighted not only to have been involved in this fantastic cooking initiative, but to also see how well received it is by all the children and their parents.

Mr Richard Mitchell (Headmaster) Wellingborough School

What our parents say...

What an absolutely fantastic evening my wife and I just had. You must be so proud of what the children achieved tonight. We felt we were in the company of young men and women - they were all so grown up and impeccably mannered.


The food was truly superb and, as an Eton Mess aficionado, it was as good as I have had in any restaurant!


Thank you to the teaching and kitchen staff, and most of all the Year 8's; that was a truly memorable evening


What our children think...

The gala dinner was one of the most exciting experiences we have ever had; the experience of actually catering for over 150 adults gave us a very different perspective on life and a preview of a possible future.


The evening started at about 4pm, with waiters and waitresses setting up tables and cooks preparing dishes in the kitchen. The waiters and waitresses partnered up to learn how to professionally lay out the cutlery and how to fold napkins into many shapes and sizes. Meanwhile, the chefs partnered up and learnt how to prepare their dishes and set the food out on plates professionally.


The chefs thought the hardest part of the evening was getting all of the dishes ready on time, especially when the time came for the desserts as there was a huge wave of waiters and waitresses all wanting Eton Mess for their customers which was so popular and it looked great! The waiters and waitresses thought that the hardest part of the evening was making sure everyone on their table had exactly what they ordered and also trying to judge when everyone would finish.


The evening was hard but enjoyable while we were serving the adults. Afterwards, everyone felt fulfilled and very proud of what they had achieved. We know that everyone would love to do the evening again as it was very successful.


Marden Primary School children quotes

Posted: 11 Nov 15 23:30


Roots to Food was really fun to watch. I learnt some knew things about food.

Maddy (Sea Turtles Team)

It was lots of fun! I learnt the names of the different food groups. I also learnt that fish makes you brainy!

Ashleigh (Sea Turtles Team)

I was on the green team. I liked cooking with all of my group, we took it in turns! We got to taste both teams food at the end. They both tasted nice but I liked ours better!

Alfie (Sea Otters Team)

I really enjoyed the workshop. I learnt something new about fish! There are three categories: white, oily and shellfish.

Jacob (Sea Turtles Team)


We learnt about how much fruit to eat in the day. You should have five pieces of fruit.

Max (Sea Lions Team)

He told us which fruit was good for you and that you should eat five bits a day.

Joseph (Sea Lions Team)

I was a chef! I had to use bananas, peaches, strawberries and apple and orange juice to make a smoothie. I put them in the smoothie maker and pushed the button and it chopped it up for me! It was yummy and I could taste the peach!

Harley (Starfish Team)

The recipes will be signposted and added to our website.

Thank you again!

Extremely effective presenter

Posted: 11 Nov 15 23:30

Can I just say how much I enjoyed experiencing the "Roots to Food" event at Marden Primary School yesterday.

Darren Tinkler is an extremely effective presenter and the level of engagement and enthusiasm he generated from the children was truly wonderful to see. GSS are to be congratulated on delivering such added value to their schools. As you know, I am now an Associate Governor of the school and I will be reporting back to my colleagues in a very positive manner.

Enthusiasm and Professionalism

Posted: 11 Nov 15 23:30

I have used Darren on many occasions for both school events and conferences for school leaders. In all he does, Darren brings a level of enthusiasm and professionalism I have rarely seen. His ability to engage an audience, no matter the age, and see great results in learning and teamwork is why I use him whenever I am planning something. His ability to create and work within the budget agreed has never failed and I have always seen 100% positive feedback from schools and conferences when he's there.

Aylesham Primary School children and staff quotes

Posted: 11 Nov 15 23:30

The unrivalled part of the show was smelling the food whilst it was being made. I enjoyed it when they brought out the team captains and they were teachers. It was unexpected and I loved how everybody got involved.


I like that the show was interactive and that we got to taste the food and that little children got to join in. The food was really nice and healthy. The one moment that really impressed me was when I got to go and see how the teams were doing and the smell of the food was really nice.


I liked it when we got to join in with the cooking, and the time limit made it exciting. It made us work even harder than we would have and we had the teachers joining in with the children.


I was bewildered by what you can make with a few ingredients and fifteen minutes. I didn't think they would be able to complete and serve the dish before the time ran out but fortunately both teams just about managed it. I adored this show and if you're like me and you love cooking, I strongly believe you will too.


I was one of the staff members who was lucky enough to be involved in the actual cooking segment of the Roots to Food assembly. It was so nice to share such a fun activity with my students and take part in the learning right along with them. I am always trying to make learning in my classroom as hands on as possible, and chef Darren did not disappoint in this regard! It was a unique and satisfying feeling to wipe our hands off on our aprons at the end of the cooking challenge and taste the dish that we made together - better yet that it was so delicious!

Julian Swinkin
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