By Sarah Mac Donald - 15 February, 2014
Building work got underway on Thursday on a new school of catering in Co Meath which will train students in the culinary arts while supporting local food producers and food tourism.
The project is a venture of Lismullin Hospitality Services Centre.
It is co-financed by the Meath Partnership through the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and through the European Agricultural Development fund for rural Development.
Among those who attended the launch of the Lismullin School of Culinary and Home Arts were Michael Ludlow, Meath Partnership CEO, Tom Hennessy, Chairperson of Meath Partnership, Fiona Lawless from Meath County Council, Agnes Cosgrove, a home economics teacher in Scoil Mhuire, Trim and Sandra Earl of Earl’s Kitchen in Navan.
The Lismullin School of Culinary and Home Arts will cater for up to 24 students and will also incorporate a specially dedicated demonstration unit.
According to a spokesperson, the curriculum will include not just culinary skills but also home based skills.
When the school is up and running, it will offer day long courses, weekend courses, as well as year-long courses.
Spokesperson, Liz Donnelly, said in a statement that the school would benefit those people in Meath, “wishing to get to know more about culinary arts. Courses will be available to all kinds of people from school children, home makers to professionals in the food industry. We also aim to support local business and food producers through this venture.”
She added that promoting a healthy lifestyle and focusing on the local community were important.
“The school will have courses designed for individuals looking to improve their skills at home. Courses will include healthy eating and promoting a healthy lifestyle and cooking on a budget.”
All courses will aim to foster a greater understanding of the work involved in culinary and home arts at home.
“After all when we reflect on our homes and why they are so important it is clear that the home is where the foundation of health and happiness are laid,” Liz Donnelly said.
She explained that “fostering a love of work in the home and a real understanding of its importance to family and society” was very much part of the charism of St Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei.
According to Liz Donnelly, the inspiration for the venture came 12 year track record of Lismullin Hospitality Services Centres organising activities and courses to promote a greater understanding of the work that goes into creating a healthy and pleasant home.
“In her book, The art and science of keeping house, Cheryl Mandelson made clear that the home is critical in the development of the person and therefore if you want to improve society there is no better place to start than the home,” Liz Donnelly said.
Pointing to research by Columbia University in the US which shows that teenagers who eat family meal as home fair better, she added, “Young people who spend meal time with their family, it has been found are less likely to use alcohol or drugs and less likely to experience stress or tension with other family members.”
“That is one of the focuses of the school to help lay a strong foundation in the home for individuals as well as support culinary enterprise,” she explained.