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Food education conference brings teachers to UEL

Hero Postgraduate student

A trip to a salmon smokery, instruction in molecular gastronomy and a lecture by children’s television presenter Stefan Gates. It was all in a day’s work last weekend for more than 200 food teachers and others who descended on UEL.

The “Face to Face Food Conference” brought attendees from as far away as Switzerland to east London to explore ways to make healthy food and cooking relatable to young people. 

“It’s about making food exciting again," said conference organiser Kate Hufton, lecturer in the Cass School of Education and Communities. "And finding new ways of presenting food and teaching food science in practical ways and trying to engage pupils in schools. It’s about bringing back a love of food,”

It’s part of a national conversation taking place about the role schools should play in ensuring that youngsters develop good eating habits. Food education is now compulsory in schools from the ages of five to 14, and a newly approved national curriculum focuses on healthy food, nutrition, diet and health, Ms Hufton noted.

 A mixture of teachers, teacher trainees, students and others spent last weekend at UEL taking classes on subjects ranging from how to use food science apps to cookbook photography. A highlight was a Friday night lecture by Gates, whose expertise includes turning insects into culinary treats.

 "There are very few of these kinds of conferences available to food teachers in the UK," Ms Hufton said. “Something like this is worth attending because the courses aren’t available,” she said.

“It’s a subject that I’m passionate about, so putting in the time and effort to get the conference off the ground is worth it because there are so many interesting things happening,” Ms Hufton added.


Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.