Sunday, 10 July 2011

School FEAST Bus

On 20th October 2010 Telford & Wrekin Council launched the FEAST (Food Skills And Excellence Training) Bus. With £85'000 raised from grants the bus was converted into a state-of-the-art mobile kitchen with a seating area .... I'd happily have a kitchen like it!

The idea behind the bus was to train school cooks so our children could be offered healthy, tasty, fresh meals at lunchtimes but this is not all it provides. The FEAST bus offers a place to teach cooking where there is a lack of space or cooking apparatus. It is used to teach parents (such as myself) to cook healthy meals, snacks and desserts as well as teaching children and teens cooking skills. Only this week I was taught how to portion off a raw chicken. We removed the wings, legs & breast meat, leaving barely any on the bones which was then used to create a stock. With 2 whole chicken costing as little as £7, the breast meat off 1 chicken alone would have cost us more than £5 by itself.

This is the outside of the FEAST bus (well, durrrrr, obviously!)
We start with washing our hands & putting our aprons on (lovely denim ones) before getting the ingredients out - all of which are supplied for us as part of the course. We get chopping, mixing & cooking, following the recipe while being guided by Debbie, our teacher, & taught some fab tricks of the trade. Deb adapts the recipes & course to suit the group she has & their level of ability.
After each stage we take it in turns to wash up, dry & clean the table, work surfaces etc.
If theres time we all sit round for a cuppa & a natter while food finishes off cooking.
We finish by choosing as a group what we want to make the following week. Its nice to have this bit of freedom. As a group we normally pick a savory dish & a sweet dish - something for Tea & Pud to follow ;-)

Inside the bus ...
Having finished our cooking Debbie wraps up the chicken stock ready to use next week, and Sam takes a lil break. Here you can see the table we use to chop, mix etc & generally get all prep done. Deb (at the front) is standing in front of one of the posh hobs - they only stay on if theres a pan on it, so turn off as soon as you lift the pan off.
Thank you to Deb & Sam for not minding having their photos taken :-)

Behind Deb is the oven. The bin is normally slipped away but is easy to move round as it has been in the photo to easily pop in a boiled chicken carcass. There are 3 pairs of hobs spread around the kitchen area, plenty of cupboards for storage, a fridge & a sink with runing water
To get a better look at the bus when it was brand spanking new follow THIS link.

So far we have learnt to make:- Pizza from scratch, cheesy pasta twists, apple flapjacks, banana flapjacks, chicken curry, carrot & oat fruit muffins & strawberry muffins all in 3 lessons. Next week we're making minestrone soup & fruit pie. Its not only about the recipes though, its the skills we get while making them such as portioning off a chicken, how to seed a Pepper with barely any waste, how to make a sauce from a rue, etc.

If you get a chance to do a course on the FEAST bus I would thoroughly recommend it, it has been an immensly enjoyable course, teaching me skills I can not only use myself but pass onto my children & other people.

The FEAST bus will be at Telford's CultureFest 2011 cooking up some pizza for you to try, & you get the chance to make some bread - pop along for a nosey & to join in.

If your interested in having a go on the FEAST bus then you can contact Debbie Hayfield on:
01952 380964, or email (she's lovely so dont feel nervous contacting her)

Within Telford the courses are free, but it can also be hired for a fee outside this area as well.


  1. What a brilliant idea and such a great kitchen. Glad you're enjoying yourself and the recipes sound yummy.
    Hugs xx

  2. I agree with Susie - what an absolutely fantastic thing to do. Brilliant idea - the food does sound yum!

  3. brilliant idea and I have loved following your adventures on the bus!



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