St James Prep in Kensington trailblazes in its mindful approach to educating the whole child. This Spring Term marks an exciting new chapter for the school with the appointment of Allegra McEvedy MBE, to oversee the cookery syllabus in its new professionally designed teaching kitchen, where she will be teaching the children herself.

Described by The Independent as “a caterer with a conscience”, Allegra has been cheffing for 25 years in some of London’s best restaurants, written 8 cookery books, co-founded LEON, been one of the judges on CBBC’s Junior Bake Off and co-host of CBBC’s new series, Step Up to The Plate.  Allegra is Patron of the Fairtrade Foundation, and owns the iconic Albertine wine bar in Shepherds Bush. The citation for her MBE was for promoting healthier eating and ethical sourcing in the UK.

Why did you decide to take on this new venture at St James?

In my mind there is no single skill that is more important for life than learning how to feed yourself, your friends and family.  

My daughters both attend St James, because I believe it is the best place for them to grow as whole little people; caring about those around them and the planet we live on (the school has been vegetarian since its foundation in 1975).

Learning to cook and enjoying being in the kitchen is a perfect fit with their ethos of caring and sharing.

What will the children learn? 

About ingredients, seasonality, nutrition and sourcing; also teamwork, timekeeping and tidying up after themselves. Cookery is part art, part science - I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t engage with it.

We created the syllabus by choosing Big Hitters we knew the children would love, over the traditional Home Economics approach. So the first lesson is bread, butter and jam from scratch….because armed with a jam sandwich you can do anything! 

You should see their proud and amazed faces when after an hour of intense focus, they leave with their own loaf of soda bread, ball of butter and jar of rhubarb and strawberry jam (strawberries frozen from last summer, of course!).

Next step: sushi!