Cooking good food on a small budget

20/02/2008 - 00:00
Head chef Joanne Timperley and Gillian Edwards, catering operations manager at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, demonstrated how they manage to cook fresh, sustainable, ethical food on a small budget for their children and staff at the Cost Sector Catering Live theatre at Hotelympia yesterday.

The college comprises a 120-cover restaurant, a theatre, and a café which prides itself in making home-made muffins, cakes and baguettes using fair-trade ingredients when possible.

The establishment serves up to 500 students, 350 staff and 1000 theatre patrons per day, and have just 88p to cook per meal.

Joanne kicked off her demonstration with one of the college's biggest sellers – leek and potato soup, which was shared around for the visitors to sample.

She then moved on to the main dish of beef stir-fry, using ingredients such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, courgettes.

Other dishes cooked up included a chicken and mango salad and a chicken and sweet-corn dish.

Gillian explained some of the constraints of working as a chef in a college: "We find it very difficult to recruit new chefs with skills. It is hard to attract them into a college or university – they prefer sexier jobs such as hotels and restaurants. It is also difficult being sustainable and trying to get the suppliers that we want."

The college serves their main dishes for £3.90 each.


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