NK Academy Students Cook Up a Storm with Pop-up Restaurant

On Friday (14th June), a group of Year 10 food and technology students spent the day off timetable and had their classroom turned into a fully functioning kitchen with the help of Great British Menu finalist and owner of Brown’s Pie Shop in Lincoln, Danny Gill.

Danny and his sous chefs opened their second pop-up restaurant at North Kesteven Academy and enlisted 10 students to work with them in the classroom-kitchen from 9am to 8pm.

The students prepped and cooked a three-course meal from a selected menu which they later served to their friends and family in the school’s canteen. Dishes on the menu included a smoked haddock and prawn chowder starter, slow-roasted chicken with apricot and herb stuffing, creamed potatoes and seasonal vegetables for the mains, and a lemon posset with blueberries and shortbread for dessert.

The students, who are all preparing for their GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition, got to learn about every aspect of running a busy restaurant from preparing the ingredients through to serving their diners. 

After spending the day preparing their dishes, in the evening the students converted the school canteen into a restaurant and split into a kitchen team and a front of house team.

Kimberley Allen, Teacher of Technology at the Academy, commented: “We’re so pleased to be able to offer students this fantastic initiative. A big part of the pop-up is educating students on food provenance and where the food that they prepare comes from. As well as learning many practical skills such as portioning a chicken, filleting a fish, sauce making and plate presentation, there will be a focus around teamwork.

“Students will also get an insight into how to be cost-effective by using one ingredient such as chicken to make more than one meal. In Year 11 the students will have a three-hour practical exam, and this opportunity to understand how a kitchen runs and how to prepare food is an invaluable experience which will help them prepare for that.

“We’re delighted to have Danny on board again, particularly as he is a former student of ours. It’s great to see him back here returning to his roots!”  

Danny said: “The first ever pop-up that we did was here at NK Academy a couple of years ago. It’s great to be back and passing on my passion, educating young people in food and nutrition and getting them excited about the catering and hospitality industry.

“It’s a special day to be part of and an amazing opportunity to interact with the young ones and see them get excited about a new way of learning while building a series of skills. It’s not just the restaurant experience and cooking side that the students learn from during these pop-ups, there are so many other skills that you acquire from working in restaurants – and that’s one of the key messages from today.

“They might not even know that they want to be a chef or waiter or waitress yet, but hopefully a day like today will give them a better understanding.”

Danny was a student at North Kesteven Academy before getting a job at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons under Raymond Blanc aged 17.