Eagle-eyed viewers might have spotted my fleeting appearance on The One Show on Monday, talking about PKL KitchenPods as a potential solution for schools requiring new kitchen facilities to help with implementing the School Food Plan and Universal Infant Free School Meals.
The feature looked at the issues some schools will be facing in getting ready for the changes, and touched on several potential solutions. John Vincent from The School Food Plan helped a headteacher explore a number of options to ensure her school could meet the Plan's recommendations. The PKL KitchenPod at Bush Hill Park Primary School in Enfield was featured (thanks to headteacher Sue Crisp) as an example of modular kitchen buildings which provide flexible procurement options - including purchase, rental or lease - which can help schools without funding for an upfront purchase.
The feature also discussed options such as the local authority or private caterers borrowing money to invest in school kitchens, with the knowledge that a good facility will generate a profit, enabling the money to be paid back over time. Bringing the catering in-house was another suggestion put forward in the feature. This option can provide a great solution to schools whose current catering company may no longer represent the highest quality and most cost-effective solution when faced by the increased numbers of children who will be entitled to free school meals from September.
One of our PKL Food Cubes was installed at the BBC studios for the day, for a live piece about how modular servery buildings can provide a solution to queues and congestion in school dining rooms. Mary Berry seemed to enjoy cooking pancakes in the Cube, describing it as "splendid" when interviewed by presenters Matt and Alex. Sadly we're not able to include a free Mary Berry with every Food Cube, but we do supply a variety of features and equipment,which we hope makes up for it!
I had a fantastic afternoon down at The One Show studios, watching rehearsals and pre-recordings. The studio is much smaller than I'd expected, but is run with such efficiency that a larger space really isn't necessary! I was also surprised to find that the outside filming area where our Food Cube was located is very open to the public, with people passing on the street able to watch from only a few metres away.
During a break in rehearsals, I had a chat with presenter Matt Baker, who was particularly interested in the issue as his own children don't currently have a hot meal option at school.
It was also nice to catch up with John Vincent from the School Food Plan and hear about the filming he'd done for the feature. I'm a member of the School Food Plan's Small Schools Taskforce, so we had plenty to talk about!
The show will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer until 10th March 2014, so watch it here asap if you missed it. The school meals feature starts 16 minutes in and lasts for about 10 minutes.
For more information on PKL school solutions, visit our dedicated schools website at www.schoolkitchens.com.