On Tuesday 4 October, multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli visited Tops Day Nurseries to deliver a special cookery class and shared healthy eating tips with chefs within the family of 17 day nurseries.
Excessive consumption in young children increases the risk of obesity and life-threatening problems such as heart disease and diabetes. The new menus have been designed to ensure the children have a fully balanced diet throughout the day, and importantly have reduced the sugar intake with the meals and desserts provided.
Earlier this year, Tops Day Nurseries were contacted by the Novelli Academy for more information about the low sugar menus the nurseries provide to help tackle the obesity crisis. An assistant for ‘the nation’s favourite French chef’ spotted the story on the news and informed Jean-Christophe of Tops Day Nurseries new menus.
Jean-Christophe showed a keen interest in learning more about the project lead by Tops Day Nurseries, particularly with his own passion for ensuring dishes are created in a health conscious manner. Chefs from Tops Day Nurseries were invited to watch a demonstration lead by Jean-Christophe showing how quick and easy meals could be incorporated into the new low sugar menus.
Diane Wycherley, Senior Area Manager at Tops Day Nurseries, commented: “We understand a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity are essential for children’s health and well-being. At Tops Day Nurseries we have designed a balanced menu to support growth and development using the Children’s Food Trust recommendations.
“We are extremely proud that our new menus attracted the attention of Jean-Christophe Novelli, and we feel privileged that he attended the chef’s meeting to present new ideas and recipes for us to use within our nurseries.”
During the four hour visit, the on-looking chefs were shown how to create dishes including sweet potato stuffed chicken gigolet, apple tarte tatin and roasted pumpkin/butternut squash risotto with spinach and watercress.
Jean-Christophe is a 5/5 AA Rosette and Michelin award-winning chef, who began his career aged 14 as a baker in his home town of Arras, Northern France.
Jean-Christophe’s passion to pass on his wealth of culinary knowledge to others led to his desire to open his own cookery school; in 2005, Jean Christophe launched the ‘Novelli Academy’ based in his own 14th century Hertfordshire farmhouse kitchen at his Farm near Luton. Within three months, the academy was voted amongst the ‘Top 25 Cookery Schools in the World’ and has increased in popularity ever since.
Amy Alderson, Operations Director, was also present during the demonstration. Amy commented: “It has been such an amazing opportunity for everyone involved. To be able to welcome such a renowned chef into our Boscombe nursery, having made contact regarding our own menus, is just fantastic.
“I am certain chefs from Tops Day Nurseries will take away a new outlook on how they prepare the children’s meals, and will be grateful for the number of recipes provided by the Novelli Academy, we are looking forward to implementing some of these across our menus.”
Jean-Christophe commented: “It is wonderful to see that Tops Day Nurseries are as keen as I am to help our children and their parents understand nutrition from this important age of their development, I only wished more schools were this conscientious.”
Tops Day Nurseries are a family of 17 day nurseries across the South Coast. The more children are introduced to new foods, the more willing they are to try new things, a particular favourite dish within Tops Day Nurseries is chicken and pea risotto. Open 52 weeks a year, the chain realise the importance of implementing healthy eating within early years and have a vision to support parents with low sugar meal suggestions at home.