From footballs to meatballs

Toynton Primary School cook Dawn Cragg with teacher Alex Pillans
Toynton Primary School cook Dawn Cragg with teacher Alex Pillans
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A former PE cupboard has been given a new lease of life as one of Lincolnshire’s smallest kitchens at Toynton All Saints Primary School.

Staff and pupils are enjoying freshly-cooked lunches from the new school kitchen which has been up and running since the start of term.

Since then, tireless chef Dawn Cragg has been working overtime to prepare meals for the hungry hordes.

The kitchen was officially opened to mark Lincolnshire Day on Wednesday, with the Mayor and Mayoress of Spilsby in attendance. The celebration lunch featured local produce including Lincolnshire sausage, plum bread and Poacher cheese.

Measuring just 90 inches wide and 190 inches long, space may be at a premium but the menu choices are going down a treat.

Children suggested names for the kitchen, with Dawn choosing the Willow Cafe, inspired by the school’s Forest School status that celebrates nature and trees.

Meals were previously supplied by an outside caterer, but are now prepared and cooked by Dawn who started working full-time to cope with demand for her delicious dishes.

Using healthy ingredients, including produce grown in the school’s vegetable garden, the menu has been going down a treat.

Headteacher Lesley Coulthurst said: “The children love meal times, there is calm and a sense of sharing. We have gone from serving 25 meals a day to more than 60. As the children are playing outside they can smell treacle pudding cooking. They are full of delicious food every day, it is an absolute success.

“More and more are converting to our school meals every day, the lunches are very popular with staff too and all from what must be the smallest kitchen in Lincolnshire.”

Children queued up to sing the praises of Dawn’s dishes.

Lily Mullen, 11, said: “I enjoy everything on the menu, it is like homemade food and really nice.”

Connor Mcerlean, 10, added: “I love the curries and raisin brownies. We have told the cook how much we like the meals and always feel really full up.”

School business manager Helen Brough oversaw the construction of the kitchen, built with a £27,000 grant from Lincolnshire County Council’s Food for Life programme.

The official opening was also attended by Peter and Pamela Grant and included a reading by Peter Mackinder from Far Welter’d, East Lincs Dialect Society.