Excellent School Lunches Take Internationella Engelska Skolan Västerås to National Final

Excellent School Lunches Take Internationella Engelska Skolan Västerås to National Final

"The Food Is Good Every Day": - Timnit Zemariam (centre) enjoys a meal with friends

Students in Västerås watched, and tasted, with pride as their school restaurant took part in the final of the Skolmats Gastro SM.

The contest, which seeks to find the best school food in all of Sweden, selected Tasteland, the restaurant of Internationella Engelska Skolan Västerås, to take part in the national final, naming them as one of the top five school restaurants in the country.

Now the chefs, students and staff will have to wait to hear whether their school restaurant will be named as the country's best. The jury have four more schools to visit and judge before they eventually announce the winner at the end of April.

Students were quick to praise their school restaurant and the food that they enjoy every day.

Timnit Zemariam, 11, from class 4B said:  "The food is good every day. I think that Tasteland will win because it is a good school and good food."

Max Gustavsson, 11, from class 4a, said: "I think that they will win because they are very good, and the food is good every day. My favourite is spaghetti carbonara because I like bacon."

"The food today is my new favourite": - Linus Apablaza gives his judgement

Linus Apablaza, 12, from class 6b, said: "It's delicious, the food is always good and it is new food all the time, but.  It's got a lot of flavour. I don't know if Tasteland will win because I haven't tasted the food at the other schools, but I think we might have a chance."

However, during the competition the students weren't the only ones judging the food. Kurt Wied, the chairman of Skolmats Gastro led the official jury. Speaking to students and staff after the judging process, he said: "I hope that you have enjoyed the food as much as we have, we have eaten three really good dishes.

"I think that your cooks have done a great job today, when you compete it is always a bit difficult to be the first team that presents food.

"We have sealed the results in and now we just need to see what your competitors do.  It is up to them now, and that is your big advantage, it is up to them now to perform better than you have, so we will see what happens."

Chef Andreas Synnerborn of Chartwells is in charge of the kitchen at Tasteland.  He has worked at Internationella Engelska Skolan Västerås since the school opened four years ago, but enjoys his work much more now that the school has a full manufacturing kitchen, meaning fresh food can be prepared on site for all the students.

He said: "At this restaurant, Tasteland, we have a vision in five to seven years to be the best in the world in school food, why not start by being the best in Sweden.  The kitchen has been open two years, we are pretty new and it is fun to be one of the best in Sweden so soon.

"Our guests need to learn what good food is, every day we serve a good lunch with nutrition and variation.

"We are going to enter until we win, and we are going to win one year, maybe it will be this year, we will see."

As well as presenting food to the students of the school, and the judges, food was taken out to a VIP table, including the principal, representatives from both the municipality and the student council, the press and even Swedish master chef Amir.

Barbara Bergström, who founded Internationella Engelska Skolan twenty three years ago, was one of the VIP guests invited to try the food.  She has always considered good and nutritious food to be an important part of any school.

She said:  "Before it was important to everyone else, food was important to us- I used to say if the kids do not get a decent meal they can't think, they can't concentrate. Some kids travel up to an hour to get to our schools and it is important that they don't spend their time hungry. We don't want them to make a beeline to the nearest hamburger restaurant."

Peter Ledin, the school's Principal, added: "The students are proud of the kitchen here, a lot of students believe that we have the best kitchen in Sweden.

"I think a competition like this is very important, there are a lot of good chefs working in school kitchens who do not get the credit they deserve, they are often better than chefs in regular lunch restaurants, and they should get credit.  Our food is more nutritious and we have a wider range of salads and it tastes really really good.

"Good food is like giving fuel to an engine, you need to have fuel to focus in school, and you need to have good fuel.  If you have candy and energy drinks then your mood and focus is like a rollercoaster. The students are more focussed when they have had good food"

The results of the competition will be announced in Stockholm on the 26th of April once the judges have had the chance to assess the other schools who are talking part. The winning team travelling to Switzerland for an inspirational visit to Inselspital Bern.