Talking Point: Jenny Ridgwell: July 2021

Teaching food at school

Recently a friend said, ‘There’s so much food on TV, and magazines and newspapers are full of recipes. So why do you say food is an undervalued school subject?’

I raised the topic on the Guild’s Facebook Forum, asking members if they studied food at school. For some, the subject was low in the pecking order. My Domestic Science A level, taken long ago, was refused as a qualification for university and my headmistress said I’d never get a job if I studied food. 

This brings to mind the massive shortages of staff in the hospitality industry which is closing restaurants in the peak 2021 holiday season. If more school students studied food surely this would inspire them to join the industry? Today’s news says that white working class pupils are being failed and need technical education. Food should be part of that.

Members of the Guild have such a diverse range of opportunities – think of the extensive skills of presenters in our Zoom sessions. Somehow food education needs celebrated in schools, and the jobs celebrated – but how?