TASTY dishes are on the menu for pupils across Northern Ireland with three schools taking delivery of substantial meat packages.
In a bid to win a meat package budding chefs submitted entries to the annual Meat4Schools competition, hosted by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).
The Meat4Schools competition is a highlight in the LMC calendar and each year pupils from across the Province are invited to profile the significance of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef and lamb to our local industry and as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Creative juices were flowing as pupils also produced original recipes with NIFQA beef and lamb as part of their competition submission.
The three winning recipes were Brilliant Beef Burgers, Lamb Stew and Spaghetti Bolognese.
The winning schools each received £100 of NIFQA beef and lamb, kindly sponsored by ABP Food Group.
LMC Education and Consumer Promotions Manager Sarah Toland explained: “One of the key drivers for the competition was to encourage the use of NIFQA beef and lamb in schools, and to complement our existing schools programme.
“With this in mind we specifically targeted Food and Nutrition teachers and their students when drawing up the criteria for the project.”
LMC is delighted to announce that three schools have been selected as the deserved winners of this year’s competition.
The winning schools are: De La Salle High School, Downpatrick, Down High School, Downpatrick, and Loreto Convent Grammar School, Omagh.
Sarah congratulated the winning schools, noting that as the competition received an encouraging number of entries, to select the top three was no easy task.
“Again this year we were pleased to receive an encouraging number of entries.
“We were delighted that winners spanned from one side of the Province to the other, reiterating the reach of the Meat4Schools competition.
“The standard of entries was extremely high and it was good to see the enthusiasm and interest of pupils wanting to cook and enjoy beef and lamb.”
A selection of cuts were chosen with the aim of encouraging students and teachers to experience the versatility of beef and lamb and be encouraged to cook with it inside and outside the classroom.
The winning schools also received educational goody bags with recipes and resources to aid students in their studies.
Sarah is hopeful that the recipe books will provide some helpful tips for pupils keen to cook up a storm.
She adds: “Many students choose to cook with beef and lamb as part of their practical examinations, and we hope that we can encourage them to take these recipes home and tell others about the benefits of (NIFQA) beef and lamb.”
Speaking about the Meat4Schools competition, De La Salle High School teacher Irene Stokes remarked that it has helped increase awareness of the importance of sourcing local NIFQA produce.
Ms Stokes said: “This competition allowed our students an opportunity to highlight the vital nutrients that beef and lamb provide and how both can add variety, colour, flavour and texture to any dish.
“Our students are also becoming increasingly aware of sourcing meats that have the NIFQA symbol and the impact this has on the local economy.”
Down High School teacher Sharon McKee added: “Thank you to LMC for running this competition.
“It was a fabulous way of encouraging our young people to consider the valuable contribution of red meat in their diet.
“Our Year 9 pupils are currently investigating the nutritional and dietary needs of adolescence so this competition fitted well into our curriculum and brought the theory to life.”
Loreto Convent Grammar School teacher Alison Kelly added: “The Meat4schools competition was a brilliant opportunity for our GCSE Food & Nutrition students.
“It enabled them to apply their knowledge on the food supply chain, Food Quality Assurance schemes, in particular the Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance scheme (NIFQAS) and the nutritional importance that beef and lamb has as part of achieving a healthy balanced diet.”
LMC Marketing and Communications Manager Lauren Patterson confirmed that there are more exciting plans in the pipeline for school focused initiatives aiming to educate pupils about the benefits of NIFQA beef and lamb.
She said: “The commission is widely recognised as a body that is totally independent and impartial when it comes to giving dietary advice on beef and lamb.
“LMC has been working closely with schools for almost 25 years and hopes to continue on this path for many years to come.
“We are on track to complete 375 school cookery demonstrations before March 2022.
“These have been highly sought after in light of the impact of Covid-19 on practical cookery lessons.
“These demonstrations provide pupils with an opportunity to ask questions about NIFQA beef and lamb, learn new cookery skills, and most importantly taste beef and lamb, some for the first time.
“At LMC we are proud to support teachers and pupils in accessing and learning about NIFQA beef and lamb.”
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