School celebrates with grand opening of new dining hall

School celebrates with grand opening of new dining hall

16th July 2014


A CELEBRATED chef who has cooked for rock stars and royalty served up a treat for students at the grand opening of a new school dining hall. 

Michel Roux-trained chef Jo Stoddart invited pupils and guests at Longfield Academy, in Darlington, to take part in a fun tongue twisting flavour challenge using jelly to help celebrate the unveiling of the school’s first ever dedicated dining facility.

Jo worked for Michel Roux at his restaurant Le Gavroche in London for six years before working with his father, gastronomic legend, Albert Roux.

She was a former London School Chef of the Year and is now heading up the catering at the award-winning Middleton Hall Retirement Village near Darlington.

“It is an absolute honour to be invited along to be a part of the opening celebrations for Longfield’s new dining hall,” said Jo.

“I think it is a fantastic area, very colourful and vibrant and a place students will really enjoy coming to eat their lunch.

“A good dining room is an essential part of social interaction in any school but can sometimes be over looked in an educational setting. Longfield Academy now has a wonderful facility that they can be very proud of.”

The new dining area is part of a multi-million pound re-development of Longfield Academy, which has seen the infrastructure of the school significantly improved both internally and externally.

This has included the replacement of all external glazing and roof lighting to create an enhanced learning environment for students and the building of a state of the art sports hall, including four courts, classroom, ICT facility and multi-gym.

Deputy head Beverley Clifton was nominated to cut the official ribbon for the new dining hall after teaching food technology at the school for over 33 years.

“This is the first time there has been a dedicated dining facility at Longfield in the school’s 46 year history,” she said.

“We never had the space or resources before to provide a separate dining room and had to use the main hall where PE classes and exams are held.

“It means a lot to the school to have this new space. We’ve always provided good quality nutritious food and now we have a good quality environment to eat it in.”

The brand new provides seating for 225 students and also incorporates Longfield’s art gallery displaying work by students with a commissioned photographic centrepiece by business studies pupils Danny Brown, Megan Carter and Callum Pennock.

Longfield Academy head teacher Susan Johnson added: “The new dining room is a really important facility for all our pupils.

“As well as being somewhere to hold our breakfast club and eat food at break times and lunch times we can also use the space for break out meetings and special events.

“It will make a dramatic difference to how our students view healthy eating and in turn result in improved learning outcomes.”

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