Meat-Free Monday in the Fern Hill Canteen

So last week Monday marked the first day in history that the canteen at Fern Hill Hotel was completely meat-free. After reading up about Meat-free Monday and discovering all the sad facts about general meat consumption, I suggested to the students (knowing that I would implement it anyway) that we might start this in our canteen. The first two students who voiced their dismay at the thought were instantaneously plunged into a half-hour long vegetarian ‘cook-off’ by me. After the initial shock of the situation they found themselves in, they coped incredibly well and produced some amazing veggie dishes. These two students, Nokwanda and Michaela, were then chosen to be the dedicated chefs for the first ‘Meat-free Monday’ in our canteen.Meat Free MondayAs the canteen feeds both staff and students from many different backgrounds, it was a hugely daunting prospect to provide solely vegetarian food – even for just one day. Noks and Michaela pulled together an outstanding array of food for the canteen lunch. Using primarily the leftover vegetables from the Sunday Carvery, they managed to knock up delicious, crisp-based spinach and vintage cheddar quiches, butternut patties, honey and mustard green beans, rosemary and garlic potatoes and colourful, healthy salads. Accompanying this was the usual lunchtime fresh fruit, breads and juices.

I printed out some basic ‘Meat-free Monday’ points and the reasoning behind why we are now implementing this routine. All the information was gathered from this hugely informative website launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009 (do take a look). Nokwanda and Michaela were also in charge of dishing up their food to the diners and were visibly excited and proud of what they had produced. I was so happy to see the change in the attitude of these two girls and I hope that with all the ‘Meat-free Mondays’ coming up in the future, I can encourage others to be just as excited for the challenge rather than dreading it because of a simple lack of knowledge and understanding. I urge you to read up more on the impact of excess meat consumption and to start following Meat-Free Mondays in your own homes. Try out a couple of my past vegetarian recipes for your lunch and dinner – the Brandy and Mushroom soup and the Courgette Tart are great for cold winter days and the Panzanella and Tabouleh salads are perfect for when the weather turns warm in summer. I hope in doing this you will discover a new-found appreciation for meat-free meals as my students have._DSC0274 _DSC0250 Meat-Free Monday at Fern Hill Meat-Free Monday at Fern Hill

Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

Author: Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

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