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Jamie Oliver's 'dinner lady' visits Dereham School

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:54 07 July 2010

Jeanette Orrey

Jeanette Orrey

Emma Knights

She was the dinner lady who inspired TV chef Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthier school dinners, and yesterday Jeanette Orrey visited a Dereham high school to check out its canteen.

She was the dinner lady who inspired TV chef Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthier school dinners, and yesterday Jeanette Orrey visited a Dereham high school to check out its canteen.

Mrs Orrey spent four hours at Neatherd High School where she visited the kitchen and chatted to catering staff before speaking to students and tucking into a school meal of roast beef with fresh carrots, homemade Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes followed by apple pie and custard.

She said she thought the school had a fantastic catering team that created really good food. It showed just how far schools had come in the past few years.

She was impressed to see students leaving nothing on their plates.

She said to improve things further she would like to see the canteen marketed to the children more by giving the canteen a special name and having a specials board to promote the school menu.

Yesterday's visit was organised because the school has just become a flagship school for the Food for Life Partnership for which Mrs Orrey is the school meals policy adviser.

The partnership, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aims to transform food culture by promoting fresh, good quality, organic and locally sourced food in schools, and encouraging children to learn more about cooking and growing food.

Neatherd is the only high school in the county to be given flagship status and the idea is that it will become an example of good practice for other schools to follow.

Headteacher Peter Devonish said Neatherd's flagship status was very exciting for the school. It was important that children were encouraged to have a healthy attitude towards food and were given the opportunity to eat good quality food at lunchtimes.

Mrs Orrey spent many years working as a dinner lady at a Nottinghamshire primary school where she began campaigning against unhealthy food in schools.

She inspired Jamie Oliver's campaign to ban junk food in schools and encourage children to eat fresh, tasty nutritious food instead.

She is author of the recipe books The Dinner Lady and Second Helpings.


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