On the 27 and 28 June, Chef Vivek Singh-Cinnamon Club and I will run a restaurant project with 60 10-year-old pupils from Edmund Waller primary school in Peckham.

The two-day event is kindly and generously supported by Baxter Storey and Alastair Storey. So far Vivek and I have taught the children in a couple of master classes and given them quite a bit of homework to do with their teachers and parents.

Teaching children “The Art of Service” and restaurant business is not as easy as it seems and it certainly is not a child’s play. Children are amazing and so honest! They don’t hold back and they will tell you things just as they are. The feedback on the master classes was instantaneous and as genuine as it gets. To teach Year 6 children to open and run a restaurant is an incredible experience, enriching and satisfying.

The restaurant project is both very beautiful and difficult to do because of the absolute purity and simplicity of the teaching that needs to be used. Children are naturally curious, sharp and bright. The ones Vivek and I taught understood everything we explained or implied so far and so much more.

Children assimilate learning so quickly and so well that it’s almost scary. If they don’t learn or are not interested you can’t help to think it can only be your own fault! The teaching and the style used has to be inspiring, exciting, fun and very precise. In my day-to-day job, I need to be good – very good – but with the children I needed to be even better. I loved every minute of it and how much they challenged me, my method and my style.

I am pleased and proud to say that the children we taught loved it! Phew! And now they are really looking forward to opening their very own pop up restaurant in the school.

Back at Galvin at Windows the sessions with the children have given me so much regained inspiration, energy and enthusiasm for our twice daily staff briefing/training. There is no difference between teaching a class of 10-year-olds and a Michelin star team: we are all children at heart and all want to be the best.

I cannot recommend enough to my fellow professionals to go and set up a pop up restaurant with a local school. It is an opportunity to inspire children, to make a huge difference in the community, to promote our profession and to learn so much about oneself and the job.
Keep an eye out for updates and pictures of the Edmund Waller pop up restaurant!

Make excellence a habit.