Renowned local Chef and journalist Paula McIntyre paid a visit to her old school in October to deliver a talk and demonstration to the Year 12 GCSE Home Economics pupils. In line with the pupils’ GCSE practical examination, she showed a creative use of fruit and vegetables. A great advocate of local produce and use of seasonal ingredients, Paula prepared Gnocchi cooked in chestnut oil, leeks, black garlic and smoked black pepper; Pumpkin wedges roasted with local rapeseed oil, flavoured with Sumac and served with her own fermented tomatoes. This was followed by indulgent Brownies with local caramelised plums, raspberries, orange blossom flowers and honeycomb shards. The pupils were enchanted by the skills she showed and the new ingredients she introduced.
Paula has recently been appointed Board Director for Northern Ireland of ‘The Slow Food Movement, UK’. Slow Food was initially founded by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in Italy during the 1980s with the aim of defending regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. Paula explained to the pupils the ethos of the movement in linking the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and the environment. Sustainability is very much part of the new A Level in Nutrition and Food Science.
Following the tasting, Paula talked to the pupils about the ever growing ‘Agri- food’ industry and the opportunities she come across in her travels. She emphasized the wide range of job opportunities apart from cooking including Food Stylist, Journalist/Blogger, Product Developer, Nutritionist to running one’s own business. Paula passion for food was evident throughout; the pupils felt inspired by her enthusiasm and knowledge.