Former Pierchic restaurant chef opens cafe in Dubai school to promote healthy eating


A former gourmet chef has opened a new cafe at a school in Dubai to encourage healthy eating among children.

Chef Ben Tobitt, who previously ran popular restaurants for Sarood Hospitality such as The Noodle House, Pierchic, Flow, The Duck Hook, Perry & Blackwelder’s, and others, has now launched the Farm to School initiative under his own company , Ben’s Farmhouse.

His first project is at the Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou, a French school in Dubai.

“The idea is to catch them young. If they are exposed to healthy, sustainable food choices from an early age, I strongly believe the chances of them eating well as adults are much higher,” Tobitt said. The National.

He said school meals are an important part of a child’s diet.

Artificial sweeteners, high calorie snacks and fried foods are off the shelves

Chief Ben Tobitt

Mr Tobitt said he and his team of 22 chefs “renamed the school canteen and snack kiosk, and introduced a new menu that uses mostly local vegetables, fruit and herbs”.

“Artificial sweeteners, high calorie snacks and fried foods are off the shelves because we only use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup,” he said.

“Snacks like chocolate muffins or cookies also decreased in size and calories. What we make weighs 50 to 60 grams while those outside weigh at least 120 grams.”

He added that the team also includes vegetables in the form of a sauce or puree that can accompany pasta or rice.

“It will ensure that children eat vegetables, but in a more appealing form,” he said.

Children can also buy salads, wraps, ciabattas, pastries, snacks and cold drinks from the canteen.

Vegan cookies, banana breads, California poke bowls, cooked beef bourguignon and Thai curry are the new items on the menu, which Mr Tobitt says will help “change things up and keep things interesting for people.” students”.

“We want to give kids the same quality of food you’d expect from a high-end restaurant,” Tobitt said.

He said the school’s 557 square meter kitchen provides the team with enough space to prepare snacks and fresh meals. The team also provides box lunches to other branches of the school in Oud Metha and Sharjah.

Mr Tobitt said his plan was not just about eating healthy meals.

“It’s also an educational journey,” he said. “We are introducing agriculture lessons in school. There will also be site visits to local farms to show them the importance of supporting local farmers.

“We want them to grow up understanding the benefits of freshness, price, availability and lower carbon footprint.”

Updated: September 23, 2022, 5:00 a.m.


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