Today we have a guest post from Emma Button. Emma’s blog Mellow Mummy features insightful information for parents about teaching their children the fun aspects of cooking.
My daughters have been helping me out in the kitchen since they were old enough to sit upright and grasp a spoon between their tiny fingers. For me and my children, cookery is more than a daily grind to make sure there are meals on the table – cooking is a social, educational and most importantly FUN activity in which the whole family can get involved.
The educational value of getting kids cooking hasn’t gone unnoticed. Pizza Express school visits have long been an opportunity for groups of school children to learn the basics about health and safety in the kitchen and to begin to understand the value of fresh ingredients and the origins of the food that might appear on their plate in a restaurant.
Cooking at home with my children is also a great place to explore basic science, maths and creative skills. When I am cooking with my girls, they enjoy it so much that they don’t even realise they are learning along the way.
Take this weekend… my 3 year old daughter helped me bake her baby sister’s first birthday cake. She weighed and measured all the ingredients which is a great opportunity for learning first numbers, comparing weights and measures and developing accuracy. Next she mixed them together which is not only fun AND messy but also teaches her about the transformations that take place when you add different ingredients together. Finally we created a cake masterpiece with icing and sprinkles which encourages her crafty and creative side. When the candles were blown out on I could see my daughter oozing with pride – it was very tasty too.
This year Pizza Express aim to inspire a generation of children to get into the kitchen through their partnership with The Children’s Food Trust. The #GettingKidsCooking campaign features a series of online activities such as cookery competitions to encourage you and your children to start cooking at home.
We see some really interesting things at PizzaExpress. There is the occasional celebrity who pops by their local to grab their usual pizza. There are locals who drop by and tell stories of their local neighbourhood over a serving of Dough Balls. And other times we see a giant duck puddling past our restaurant in Hong Kong.
The giant duck is an art piece by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman that travels around the world – and we absolutely love it!
Our team in Hong Kong took some photos and we cannot help but think…. what would Duckzilla’s favourite pizza be?
Have you noticed how the seasons have changed? Longer days, warmer temperatures and more importantly – extra time to be outside and enjoy yourself.
We have been hard at work developing a menu so you can take advantage of the summer season. We wanted to create healthier choices and also get kids excited about food.
Across all our restaurants we’ve introduced a new summer menu which includes a brand new Leggera Supper Food Salad (even suitable for anyone who is on the 5:2 diet!), Gluten Free options (yes, we now have GF pizza!) and a sparkly new Kids menu.
Drop by your local PizzaExpress to try it. Actually, with summer here, why not go for a day out and visit a PizzaExpress in a new town!
The experts tell us that children need to eat well to reach their full potential, and by getting kids cooking at a young age, they are more likely to make better quality food choices in adulthood. We wholeheartedly agree.
We’ve been getting kids cooking since the late 90s. It all started when a primary school teacher called up one of our restaurants, asking if she could bring along her class and show them how to cook. Our free School Visits grew from there. Since then, we’ve welcomed into our kitchens hundreds of thousands of children, teaching them about fresh ingredients, introducing them to new flavours and, of course, giving them the chance to make their own pizza.
Now, we’ve teamed up with foodie dad of five, Alex James, and the Children’s Food Trust to inspire a million children to get cooking over the next 12 months. Alex sums up why we’re working together and what cooking with his kids means to him, beautifully:
“I think it’s vital to engage children with food as soon as you can. The first dish I cooked was a full-English with a little help from my Granddad – I used to give him a hand in the kitchen at his B&B in Bournemouth. Food’s such a brilliant trasher of boundaries. We love cooking together; I’m never happier. It’s such a simple way to delight and engage them and they’re learning something really important. Let’s get cooking!”
‘Getting Kids Cooking’ aims to help a generation of young people take their first steps in the kitchen. There are three easy ways to get involved:
1. Next time you’re in a PizzaExpress order a Fiorentina – 25p from each one will go to the Children’s Food Trust, who get kids cooking
2. Tell primary school teachers about our free School Visits where learn about basic health and safety in the kitchen, fresh ingredients and how to make a pizza
3. Get online – we are running a series of competitions via social media and our website to encourage kids to get cooking at home #GettingKidsCooking
At PizzaExpress, we believe that is extremely important to talk to people from all backgrounds and experiences about their food influences. We love to hear how people eat at home, how they interact in the kitchen and also what they look for in a balanced diet.
Over the next month, we will be inviting some guest bloggers to share their food influences.
Today we would like to introduce you to Emma Button of the Mellow Mummy blog. We really enjoy reading Emma’s blog – especially the ‘cooking with kids’ section. ‘Cooking with kids’ contains recipes for kids to cook with parents. It is truly inspirational to read about techniques that help children get interested in food and get families cooking together.
Here are some words from Emma: I’m Emma, I live and work in Berkshire. I am a mum of two girls, age 1 and 4. Motherhood had a fascinating effect on me; instead of making me stressed and worried, motherhood has calmed me down and made me take life at a much more relaxed pace. By day I write banking software for a large US company and in the evenings, after the girls are safely tucked into bed, I blog about my mellow approach to parenthood.
For me, teaching my two girls to cook from such an early age helps them to understand where the food they eat comes from. During the summer we can source a few choice vegetables, herbs and soft fruits from the garden – gardening with toddlers is so much fun – and turn them into meals right there and then. From garden to plate in a matter of minutes.
Understanding the science and the nature behind their food is a learning journey for children. Even before her first birthday, my daughter is exploring textures of flour, sugar, water and the resulting dough while her older sister is fascinated by the transformations that her raw ingredients make as we cook them. As we cook we chat about the origins of the meat, the starches and the vegetables we use. Learning every step of the way.
We will have some more posts from Emma in the coming weeks.
In recent months we have opened or transformed some exciting PizzaExpress restaurants around the world.
The thing that really brings our restaurants to life is the local story or significance of a building that we inhabit. From ex-town halls in Biggleswade and old Churches in Morningside – we love turning an old story and giving it new life.
We love being part of a local story and retelling it with the original artworks on the walls and keeping some of the riginal features, such as the organ in the Morningside restaurant below.
Do you have a PizzaExpress near you that tells an interesting story in its design?
Our jazz club throws some of the most exciting shows in the live music scene with appearances from the likes of Charlie Watts, Gregory Porter and Jamie Cullum. We also support artists such as Liane Carroll and up and coming trio Go Go Penguin. For more information about future events head to http://www.pizzaexpresslive.com/
Sorry guys – competition is now closed
To win two tickets for the late session show for this Saturday evening simply email CLOSED using the subject header ‘Win: Charlie Watts at PizzaExpress Jazz Club’ and include your full name and contact phone number.
One winner will be selected at random and contacted by email on Friday 22nd March at 5pm. Only the winner will be contacted. Show is Saturday 23rd March 2013 – Doors open at 10pm. Winner only receives two tickets to the show. Show starts at 10:30pm. Tickets are not transferable and have no cash value.
How is that January diet going? We know how difficult it can be when trying to stick to healthy eating any time of year.
We have been working tirelessly in our kitchens developing our 500 calorie Leggera range over the years across all our restaurants that we thought why don’t we give lighter option when fans buy pizzas in supermarkets without compromising on taste?
We can now reveal our Lighter range of supermarket pizzas with Giardiniera Light and Pollo Piccante Light. They each contain fewer than 500 calories and have 40% less fat than other PizzaExpress pizzas.
Both pizzas will be available at selected Tesco and Waitrose stores.
Entry is simple – Post on our Facebook wall or Twitter page#letitsnowballdoughball and you could win. We will select one winner each day at random.
#letitsnowballdoughball Terms and Conditions: Tweet or leave a Facebook post with ‘#letitsnowballdoughball’ for your chance to win. One person will be selected at random each day at midday until 24th December 2012. This is only open to residents of the UK. One portion of Snowball Doughballs will be delivered to each winner between 2pm-5pm until 24th December 2012 (only within the UK). Winners will be contacted via Twitter or Facebook and will be asked to Direct Message (DM) their delivery details. In order to DM on Twitter, winners must ‘follow’ @pizzaexpress on Twitter. This promotion commences on the 17th November 2012 and will end at midday on the 24th December 2012. Sorry PizzaExpress employees - you cannot win this prize.
Our new PizzaExpress iPhone app gives you everything you need to make your PizzaExpress experience even easier and faster, all in the palm of your hand. You can even pay your bill on your phone with PayPal.