Westonbirt welcomes its brand-new kitchen!
After several months of hard work and an enormous amount of anticipation, last week Westonbirt opened its newly refurbished kitchen to students, staff, and special guests. This brand-new kitchen will not only enhance the day to day teaching of Food Technology across the school, but also the teaching of the Leiths Certificate in Food and Wine, a recognised professional qualification and one of the wide and varied options available to students in Sixth Form.
Since transitioning to a fully coeducational environment, students on roll have doubled and the new kitchen is one of many new and exciting development projects across our school.
As part of the opening celebrations, students were treated to a cooking demonstration from Chef Pete Wateridge from Holroyd Howe and enjoyed tasting the culinary delights that were produced. Joy Bell, our Head of Food and Textiles, reminisced on how the kitchen had looked prior to the development,
“I have been at Westonbirt since 1987 and the room had not changed prior to this! It was very much a 1970s kitchen or even previous to that! There was an aga that was in the corner which I am sure had been here since 1928 when the school first opened!”.
Thrilled with her finished and brand-new teaching space, Mrs Bell described the impact the new kitchen would have across the school,
“We have now increased the number of cookers and the numbers of sinks. We can now have eight students in here, each with their own designated area. Previously there was a lot more sharing and a lot less independence, so I think this will really encourage the students to take ownership of their own area and work more independently. I am feeling really pleased that we have got to this stage. It has taken a while to get here but hopefully this is now future proof for the next 40 years. We are already in the kitchen, cooking with all our classes and we hope in the next few weeks to be fully unpacked and settled in!”
The Principal of Leiths School of Food and Wine, Alison Cavaliero, was also present for the opening, and shared how this new kitchen will benefit the Leiths program at Westonbirt going forward,
“It is a wonderful transformation, absolutely brilliant! Mrs Bell and I have been talking about this for many, many years so to actually see it now in its new livery is extraordinary. I am really looking forward to getting to know the new students who started this year, seeing the Upper Sixth through their Leiths qualifications and going from strength to strength. Students have now got a really functional space with better cookers and more washing up space. Students will be able to work in a much efficient way which will only help them to be proper, smooth, efficient, and well-planned chefs”.
Also, in attendance to celebrate this occasion was former student Anna Baker, whose love for cooking grew as a Leiths student at Westonbirt. Since leaving in 2006, Anna has gone on to opening her own business ‘Anna Baker Cakes’. We asked Anna how it felt to be back in the kitchen which kick started her passion,
“The room is absolutely fantastic! It looks totally different. It looks contemporary, really practical. It will be great for the children.”
Anna shared fond memories of her time at Westonbirt and her enjoyment of the Leiths program,
“I really enjoyed it. On the first day of school I told everyone I was going to be a chef and I studied food throughout my time here, including Food Technology at GCSE level and then the Leiths program. It was the best experience I had here!”
We cannot wait to see the new kitchen being used across the school and for delicious aromas to soon fill the corridors!