Amanda Grant – Co-founder
Amanda, mum to three children, was taught to cook by her mum when she was very young, which triggered a lifelong passion for food. Through her teens and college days, she worked in restaurants and cafés around the world, and at university she studied food science and nutrition. She also spent many summers with Italian home cooks and chefs, learning new skills and about new cultures and recipes along the way.
The result was a lifelong passion for food and eating well, and today, Amanda is an award-winning author of children’s and family cookery books. Her titles include Kids in the Kitchen, The Silver Spoon for Children — a children’s version of the best-selling Italian cookbook — and Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids. BBC Good Food rated two of Amanda’s children’s cookbooks in their top 5.
During her career, Amanda has food edited a number of magazines, written features on food and nutrition, and developed recipes for publications as diverse as Cosmopolitan, BBC Good Food, Delicious and The Guardian. She also launched and edited Co-op Food magazine. She was on the committee for the first dedicated Children’s Food Festival, and has travelled the country teaching children about good food.
Cook School is the culmination of a life spent cooking, eating and educating children and families about food.
“It’s always been my ambition to teach as many students as possible to understand food and to cook” Amanda says. “Cook School is my way of bringing this dream to life.”
Elisa Furci – Director
Elisa’s father was from Italy and her mother from New York, and she was immersed in their native food and cooking from childhood. As a result, since her early teens, she has worked in the restaurant industry, and has experience in all aspects of catering and hospitality. She’s worked with some of the best chefs and at many of the finest restaurants in the UK such as Jason Atherton at Pollen St Social, Giorgio Locatelli and a film and food night with Jonathan Ross at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, and is currently a freelance events management and restaurants consultant. Her clients include the London Restaurant Festival, Harden’s Restaurant Guide, and various street food events and food festivals, StrEAT, Lewes Chilli Fayre and the MasterChef Street Food bus.
Elisa and Amanda first met more than 15 years ago, when their children started school and they both joined the Healthy Schools Group. The group was set up to look at ways to educate children on healthy eating and living, improving school meals and encouraging exercise. This fired her passion for teaching children about healthy eating.
Alongside Cook School, Elisa is opening a pasta and focaccia bar in Sussex, where healthy food will be an integral part of her business’s ethos.
Karen Morris – Co-founder
Karen has more than 25 years’ experience in sponsorship and fundraising, and has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Inspiring campaigns she has recently worked on include StreetGames’ Fit and Fed campaign, a programme tackling holiday hunger, isolation and inactivity among school children, and VIY supported by Wickes, which awards disadvantaged young people City & Guilds qualifications for volunteering in the community.
With the lack of cookery education in schools and the startling rise in childhood obesity, Karen was exploring the possibility of doing something similar to these innovative schemes, helping children learn to cook. That’s when Elisa introduced Karen to Amanda, and Cook School was a step closer to becoming a reality.
Stu Richmond – Director
Stu has worked in the sponsorship industry for seven years. He’s worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and charities, including Samsung, Adidas, Audi and Cancer Research UK. Stu has been Karen’s business partner at Reg & Co for over three years, and together they have built a business that strives to work on projects that deliver more than purely commercial value.
Now, with a young family at home, bringing health, nutrition and seasonal eating to the forefront of his children’s education has become part of his daily routine.
Cook School is a project that he hopes will become the norm for the next generation of children, to help them understand the importance of eating sustainably, healthily and happily for life.
Kristian Dean – Creative Director
From the first moment I met Amanda our dream was to get Cook School off the ground, I’m now so excited to be working on this incredible project together.
My career has predominantly been design and management with a life long passion for food. I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the Mediterranean and live a large portion of my life in France which has given me a greater understanding of how food can connect communities.
Having been lucky enough to play football at a high level I appreciate the importance of a balanced diet, something I’m trying to get across to the U16’s football team I coach. I truly believe the understanding of food has missed a generation, with the help of Cook School we can get things back on track!