Amanda Grant – 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.
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 – 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.
Liz Plumb – Nutrition Consultant
I am so excited to be helping Cook School with their research. After working in the food industry for 12 years in NPD (new product development) I felt that I had lost my mojo and wish to have a career that is mentally stimulating as well as helping people decide what is right to eat rather than working to what the retailers ‘expect’ so have returned to university full time to study MSc Nutrition in Practice.
My view on food and nutrition is that although parents are the gatekeepers in a family home; it’s the children who are our ambassadors for the future so ensuring that they are sufficiently educated in food in an exciting way is paramount as they can then educate their children in the future and together we can be a healthier nation in the future which is why Cook School is so important.