Media Release: Boost to QMS health and education activity in schools

QMS chef Steve Craik at Largs Academy

A PERTHSHIRE-based chef is adding his support to Quality Meat Scotland’s programme of health and education activity in Scottish schools.

Steve Craik, from Crieff, will be working with QMS and visiting schools around the country to encourage youngsters to understand the importance of eating a healthy diet and the role played by beef, pork and lamb in good nutrition.

Chef Craik has won many awards for his culinary skills and his career has included working with Gardner Merchant in Glasgow and, for more than a decade at The Famous Grouse Experience, Glenturret Distillery, Crieff, where he was executive chef.

He has also demonstrated his skills extensively overseas where he has championed top Scottish food and drink in countries as far afield as Hong Kong, Brazil and Russia.

Chef Craik’s support with Quality Meat Scotland’s activities in schools adds weight to the wide range of work the organisation undertakes to encourage children and people of all ages to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and eat well.

This month sees the launch of QMS’ Schools Meat Voucher Scheme to help pupils learn to cook quick, tasty and healthy meals.

The scheme, which is again being rolled out Scotland-wide, offers vouchers worth up to £100 to secondary schools to exchange for top quality Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork at local retailers.

The scheme was developed by QMS to ensure tight school budgets do not result in schools being unable to afford fresh, red meat products for cookery lessons and pupils leaving school without the skills to cook simple, healthy meals.

Jennifer Robertson, a registered dietitian and QMS Health and Education co-ordinator, said: “We had a fantastic response from teachers last year when almost 18,000 pupils from across Scotland had the opportunity to benefit from the scheme with 240 secondary schools receiving vouchers. We hope that this year even more schools will take part.”

Home Economics teachers across Scotland should apply for their voucher before 1 December 2012. The vouchers are worth up to £100, depending on the number of pupils on the school roll, and are valid until 1 February 2013. Vouchers can be redeemed at independent retailers and butchers that are members of the Scotch Butchers’ Club.

Jennifer Robertson continued: “The feedback from schools has been very positive with one school in North Lanarkshire telling us that they loved being able to give the pupils good quality meat to work with – it was a great treat and an education about quality of food. They said it gave them the opportunity to emphasise the versatility and the value of meat in our diet.”

“Lean red meat not only tastes good, but is a great source of protein, b-vitamins, iron and zinc. With more than a third of Scotland’s young people lacking in iron, red meat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.”

Jim McLaren, QMS chair, added: “We are extremely proud to see that the Meat Vouchers Scheme is encouraging young people to eat well and to cook nutritious meals.

“The scheme has helped show what fantastic, quality produce is available to all. It’s great to hear from teachers that pupils are engaging in lessons and learning new skills for the future.”

Home economics teachers can apply for their voucher via the QMS website: by clicking on Health and Education.

Caption: George Sewell and Nicole England from Largs Academy joined chef, Steve Craik, during a demonstration.

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Contact: Claire Morrison