Early childhood chef enjoys milestone
An east Auckland chef responsible for 130 pre-schoolers’ daily lunches celebrated a healthy milestone last week.
Fern Pereira, who for the last six years has managed meals and recipes for three pre-schools through the Parnell Community Trust, graduated from Auckland University of Technology’s Level 4 Pacific Nutrition course.
Pereira oversees meal plans for Parnell Early Childhood Centre, Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre and St Johns Early Childhood Centre, providing morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea all cooked from scratch on site.
The nine-week course focused on learning how to advise, train and support others in making healthy food choices.
‘‘I enjoyed learning about the science behind nutrition, the intricate workings of our heart and digestive systems, and to understand why it’s so important to eat the right foods in order for our bodies to work properly.’’
She was especially interested in the Pacific element of nutrition because the early childhood centres she creates menus for are very focused on multiculturalism.
One dish she added to her menus because of the course was a chicken sapasui - a type of Samoan chop sui.
The course was designed to create positive relationships with food and to establish healthy habits for life, Pereira said.
Pereira is responsible for the Parnell Trusts’ healthy and sustainable eating programmes for the three preschools.
‘‘Every meal that I cook has hidden vegetables mixed in and chopped finely. For instance our Macaroni and cheese has broccoli and cauliflower all through it.
‘‘Instead of leaving it until primary school we want to try and how it can be used as a building block.’’
Pereira’s next move is to create superheros for carbohydrates, oils, minerals and fats.
‘‘Health promotion and education is the only way forward, because we really are what we eat.’’
Fern Pereira enjoyed learning about the science behind nutrition and the intricate workings of the human heart and digestive systems.