The charity that’s changing school dinners

Meet the chefs transforming school meals and food education, and learn how Trail is helping them navigate the operational pressures of running a school kitchen.
Gemma Thomas
May 2022
4 min read

Turkey twizzlers, powdered sauces and additive-laden ingredients are the kinds of things Jamie Oliver has been railing against for years. Joining the school food revolution is Chefs in Schools, a new charity transforming school dinners — and Trail is proud to help them run the kitchens.

Chefs in schools logo

Chefs in Schools was set up by Henry Dimbleby (Leon), Nicole Pisani (ex-NOPI head chef), Hackney headteacher Louise Nichols and boasts trustees and patrons including Tommi Miers and Prue Leith. The aim is to train 100 professional restaurant chefs to work in 100 schools by 2023, transforming school lunches and providing cookery lessons for pupils.

The blueprint for the project has been Pisani’s work at Gayhurst Community School. The lessons she has learned in cooking for the 450 pupils there are being shared as part of the training for professional chefs the charity is recruiting

The first challenge at Gayhurst back in 2014 was to get rid of the packets, buy fresh food and prepare meals with fresh ingredients. The next step was to retrain the chefs, just as Pisani would have done at a restaurant.

They now cook everything from scratch and bake their own bread daily. Veg and herbs are grown on site too — this cuts costs and engages pupils in every part of the food chain. The final piece of the puzzle was taking everything digital to allow easy roll out across all the other schools.

That’s where Trail comes in.

School Dinners run on Trail

The operational pressures of running a school kitchen are not that far removed from any busy restaurant. Cost control, staff training, consistent quality at every service and food safety compliance are the cornerstones that need to be upheld whether you’re serving sushi to suits or chicken to children. And like a traditional restaurant, this is made much faster and more secure with technology.

Amy, our Head of Customer Success, meets the team

Everything that Pisani has learned over the last few years has been pulled together and put on Trail. The first site to go live has been Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school where the two head chefs have embraced it.

Feedback has been brilliant. Using Trail makes every day easier. Having the app in a school kitchen means access to recipes, menu distribution, processes recorded and checklists followed for easy daily operations & audits.

The time school chefs save by using Trail to run the day can be put to good use designing healthy alternatives for the children.

Training is effortless and the kitchen staff are upskilling, preparing them for a future where technology and food service work together hand in hand.

This is just the beginning….

To find out more about the great work Chefs in Schools are doing, please visit their website

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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