Nicky Ibbertson, school cook

Being involved with the Partnership has made my job far more interesting and challenging. Every day is different for me.

Nicky Ibbertson, school cook, 
Cowes Primary School, Isle of Wight


Cooks Network

The Food for Life Partnership Cooks Network was launched in November 2009. It consists of 18 pioneering school cooks – two from each of the English regions.

The aim of the network is to give the 18 cooks the confidence and skills to engage other school catering staff in their regions to get more involved in the school through the Food for Life Partnership and also to discuss topical catering issues and give advice to the Food for Life Partnership.


Meet the Cooks

"The Food for Life Partnership is great for the school as we all work together from our various different areas for one common goal."

"The food in my school has changed immensely, we now make everything from fresh, locally sourced products and there are no undesirable additives."

"We had 1800 students in school and we had 220 seats in the dinning room, it was obvious we needed more seating. The plans were drawn up for a new dinning room, myself and students were involved in this."

  • Jason Whiteley, Wellfield School

"Being part of the project has helped to raise the profile of the kitchen staff in the school. It has enabled us to work more closely with staff, students and members of the local community."

"As I became more involved with the children they became very aware of who I was. The children looked up to me and I was helping them to learn and understand about food. This made me feel really happy."

  • John Burke, Holly Lodge Girls School, Merseyside

"We believe that things will get better and better through our involvement with the Food for Life Partnership."

"Being involved with the Partnership has made my job far more interesting and challenging. Every day is different for me."

  • Rob Ulyatt Bourne Westfield Primary School

"The kitchen staff are proud of the food they serve, although at first the added workload was a little tiring, they now rise to the challenge, with improved confidence they enjoy their working day."

"Lots of people are interested in our story but when they ask us how we started, so often their questions focus on the rules and regulations, the finances and the challenges of running our own school kitchen rather than on the key question, ‘Do freshly prepared, healthy, tasty school lunches make a difference to our children?’ At The Vine School we know that the answer is ‘YES!’"

"I have never seen so many children smile, as they brought their produce into the kitchen."

"I would say to anyone thinking of joining the Food for Life Partnership that whilst it may seem a little daunting at first, once you get organised and chip away at it and get the ball rolling it’s easy to continue as it creates a
momentum of its own. Don’t be put off by a little change!"

  • Sue Fletcher-White, Longmead Community Primary School, Kent

"I am really enjoying my job, it has given me so much more confidence meeting and working with lots of different people."

"Working for the same goal, knowing that we are part of something that in years to come will have shaped peoples understanding of food and where it comes from has been the biggest and most satisfying feeling yet. As part of the Food for Life Partnership you are not alone, the bigger picture is out there and you are growing with it."


The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Together we are revolutionising school meals, reconnecting children and young people with where their food comes from, and inspiring families to grow and cook food.

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