The Kaipara College canteen team (from left): Mili Sipa, Sandy Nio-Aporo, Cherie Mansell, Amy Major, and Te Whare Oranga kitchen manager, Keryn Reardon.
Breakfast banana smoothie or bran and berry muffin? Thai beef noodle salad or Mexican beef slider?
One of the most difficult decisions for students at Kaipara College this year might be deciding which delicious food option to order at the school tuck shop.
Following the retirement of the previous canteen operators, the college is making a concerted effort to encourage healthy eating by students and staff — so sausage rolls, pies and fizzy drinks are gone, and instead the menu will read like something you would find at a top café.
Taking over the contract is the kitchen at Te Whare Oranga ō Parakai, the community centre owned and run by the Helensville District Health Trust. Says Trust general manager Sue Miller: “Through this platform of food we hope to achieve our vision of creating the healthiest rural community in New Zealand.”
It has also allowed Te Whare Oranga kitchen manager, Keryn Reardon to expand her team of local part-time and casual staff. “Food feeds not only our bodies but our well-being,” says Keryn, “and I'm passionate about creating food that is real and made in a kitchen, not a laboratory. The food we will make will be modern, fresh, seasonal, nutritionally dense, and wherever possible sourced locally.”
A percentage of the money earned will go back into funding social enterprise opportunities in South Kaipara, as well as to the college itself. The menu will be changed weekly but will always feature morning tea options as well as sushi and a hot meal. Every item will be priced at $5 or less, and the plan is to be able to take online bookings and payment by the second term.
The Health Trust was chosen to run the tuck shop as it met criteria developed with help from the Student Council and food technology department, says Kaipara College principal Patrick Gale. “Amongst the criteria was the need for healthy food at a competitive price that would meet the dietary needs of our students throughout the day. “We were very impressed with the community ethos of the Health Trust tender, and their desire to work alongside the college to develop a range of healthy choices for the students.
“The possibility exists in the future to develop a partnership that will enable our students to gain practical experience of the hospitality industry,” he says. “By keeping the contract local, we hope to extend the community focus the college is developing and for the food to be tailored directly to the needs of Kaipara students, rather than a broader approach that other providers were offering.”
Keryn and her team will also be at the Helensville A&P Show with samples of the new menu.
Article published in February 2017 issue.