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The school that offers the UK’s first vegetarian cuisine says the vegetarian menu has attracted new students to join


A school in West Sussex, which has adopted an all-vegetarian menu, said the relocation was so popular that some families joined the school for this reason.

In January, Our Lady of Sion School, a private school in Worthing, opened what is believed to be the first fully vegetarian school kitchen in the country.

The school has partnered with Plant Based School Kitchens, a division of a local vegan bar, to launch the menu, with dishes including black bean and quinoa pancakes in barbecue sauce, vegan fajitas with Mexican rice and “meat-free party pizza.”

Pupils can still bring packed lunches with meat and animal products, but 100% of the school’s catering offering is now vegan.

Six months after the renovation, manager Stephen Jeffrey said the cafeteria was becoming “more and more popular.”

talking with meHe said the move was prompted by the school’s former catering company, which collapsed during the pandemic.

“I’ve been in education for over 25 years and some of the food in schools has been great, not in other places,” Jeffrey said. “Often when quality is a failure, it has been a case of meat products.”

Jeffrey said that the ethos of the school is about “how can we take care of the planet and how can we give things back,” and that when the future of the canteen was up in the air, students and teachers suggested change.

“[They] They would say, “Well, if we are expected to eat more and more plant foods in the future just to keep the planet running, shouldn’t we give society the opportunity to try it out for one meal a day?” “

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He said the move was a huge success. “Kids often don’t believe it’s vegan and parents now say it gave them the opportunity to try things during the week because they weren’t sure how to handle it at home either,” she said. “We didn’t have any downsides – and I expected to fight – but it was really positive.”

Jeffrey, who himself is neither a vegetarian nor a vegan, said that “one or two” of the Conservatives were initially concerned “that he might discourage people or drop out of school because they couldn’t eat fish and chips or anything.”

The opposite has turned out, he said: “We had people join the school for this.

“I was frankly surprised, because I thought if we were in Brighton, maybe, but Worthing is more conservative.

“But the people who moved to the area were drawn to it, so we actually have some vegetarian families, environmentalists, people who work on Netflix movies that have something to do with the environment, who have said, ‘Yeah, that’s big.'”

Mr Jeffrey said the school worked with a nutritionist to make sure dishes were nutritious, while an attempt by restaurants to remove any allergens also helped seal the deal.

“We are very multicultural, we have Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians and non-religious people [pupils]So it’s good to have a menu that everyone can eat, and they are also not left out because of religious beliefs, so that was also taken as a positive.”

The mild climate allowed the school to open a “vegetable bag” under an outdoor canopy, where the older students could get sandwiches and boxes of vegetables and pasta to take with them. There is now also a daily barbecue. “This summer we’ll be doing the barbecue – vegetable kebabs and burgers – as you can imagine it was really popular,” Jeffrey said.

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Earl Warner

"Devoted bacon guru. Award-winning explorer. Internet junkie. Web lover."

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