School meals are a requirement for all pupils in the Lower School, with increasing numbers of Sixth Formers also buying a daily ticket for a school lunch. A new menu is provided each term which adheres to the Government’s nutritional standards and healthy eating policy. The menu follows a three-week cycle with a different main meal and vegetarian option each day, together with vegetables and pudding. There is always fresh bread, a self-service salad bar and fresh fruit salad. Everything is freshly made from scratch in the kitchen each morning, including the bread, coleslaw, cakes, custard and puddings.
For Head Chef Esther Buckman, the day begins at 7.00 am with the delivery of fresh groceries. All the fruit and vegetables are delivered fresh except for broccoli and sweetcorn which arrive frozen. Some of the produce is organic.
With an ever-growing number of pupils with medical conditions that restrict their diet, the school successfully integrates these children so they can eat lunch alongside their peers. Parents of children with such dietary restrictions are met with in advance, so that Mrs Barral, the Office Manager, can go through the lunch menus to identify any red flags and organise free-from meals where necessary. Mrs Barral also supervises blood sugar readings and insulin injections for children with diabetes and sugary snacks are available at all times in her office, if needed.
Esther is an incredibly popular figure at the Vaughan and she takes immense care to ensure that the boys relish their lunch. The menu is constantly tweaked based on her assessment of what pupils enjoy eating. For instance, she promptly scrapped the salmon fish cakes owing to lack of take-up while the most popular dishes - lasagne, spaghetti bolognese, black bean and potato burrito and roast dinners – have become permanent fixtures.
The school also recently introduced a Breakfast Club. Open from 7.45 – 8.10 am every morning, the freshly-made range of hot and cold items (including bacon butties, toast, fruit and blueberry muffins) has proven to be popular with pupils and a valuable addition to the school day.