International Chef’s Day: A shout out to the Early Years Chef

October 20th 2023

The Halloween decorations are up and pumpkins are for sale in the supermarkets, but before we start watching scary movies in the dark there’s another day to get excited about first! Friday 20th October is International Chef’s Day!

I can think of no better time to shout about Early Years Chefs. At LEYF we believe that Early Years Chefs are the best in the world. Sure, you have your Michelin star chefs who create wizardry in their own kitchens, but do they come out and sit down with people who don’t like their food to discuss and engage with them about it? Do they give the families the customers’ favourite recipes so that they can recreate it at home?

The Early Years Chef role is a hybrid of chef, teacher, coach, and carer. If a chef in a fine dining restaurant, was asked to come out and speak to customers, they are more likely to cross their arms, put on a grumpy chef face and begrudgingly come out for 47 seconds then rush back into the safety of their kitchen.  (I know because that was me a long time ago)!  If you ask an Early Years Chef to come out of the kitchen to speak to the customers who are of course the children, you don’t have to ask because they are already in the rooms talking and playing with the children.

Early Years Chefs are the backbone of any Early Years settings.  They are the nutrition and health gurus. This is just as well because children with poor diets are less likely to focus on their learning and generally have less energy and concentration skills. We also know that children who are introduced to interesting vegetables through play are more likely to eat them when served as part of their meals.  The chefs know this!  They also know that having Ofsted approved Early Years Chef Standards would provide a structure for chefs training and development.

Many of you will have read about the LEYF pioneering Chef Academy and the CACHE Accredited Level 3 Award. This award enables chefs to learn more about childhood nutrition, portion sizes, menus, planning activities with children, supporting parents, and much more.  It has built a community of passionate Early Years Chefs, a community that has room for new members. If you are interested here is the link and If you want to know more about the Chef Academy training please follow this link.

So let’s hear it for all the wonderful and sometimes quirky chefs in the Early Years. Celebrate their contribution to feeding the next generation and watch them perform magic as they turn the fussy eater and broccoli hater into a vegetable champion.  Thank you to all of you bloomin’ amazing, creative, caring, and wonderful human beings that we have the pleasure to work with!