Tuckshop gets top marks with the kids
BUTTER chicken, bacon and egg quiche with salad, tuna and cheese pasta bake - this isn’t the menu of a trendy cafe but the specials on offer at the Port Douglas State School tuckshop.
Veteran chef and former owner of Sam’s Pantry, Sam Fielden, has come on board as the new tuckshop convener at PDSS, serving up gourmet goodies that will have parents jealous of what their kids get to have for lunch.
“Children need good sustenance, and they need good sustenance that’s going to fuel their brains,” said Ms Fielden, who explained that removing sugary items from the menu was important for not only the health of the children - but the sanity of their teachers.
“If they’re going into the classrooms filled up on sugar that’s not going to help.”
Ms Fielden is employed by the PDSS P & C, and with her 30 years of experience as a chef has set about bringing the school’s tuckshop into line with the Queensland Government’s Smart Choices program.
“Ninety-five per cent (of the menu) now is all home made, which is where we need to be.”
While there are some familiar old items on the menu the new menu is filled with healthy options and a lot of the goodies are themselves filled with healthy ingredients.
“They have no idea there’s a lot of goodness going into those like crushed up Weetbix and grated apple, and they’re absolutely loving it.”
Revamping the old menu isn’t all that is new.
“My other piece de resistance is that we do specials - the reason I do specials is to introduce them to something new.”
Specials changed every week, and ran on both Monday and Friday. This was so she could see how popular an item was, “because word gets around” with demand jumping on Fridays if something is a hit on a Monday.
“I put the butter chicken and rice on in December and it went like I couldn’t believe it. It went off like wildfire.”
Besides a varied (and changing menu), students can look forward to sushi Wednesdays with the tuckshop now to be open three days a week.
Port Douglas State School Sam Fielden with a selection of some of the new items on the menu for kids this year