A taste of the Jubilee in Halifax


To mark the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, trainees from Refresh Café joined up with chefs from the Halifax-based Cooking School to develop the Jubilee Coronation Chicken wrap, a modern take on what has become a classic dish.

Refresh Café is an enterprise run by the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Calderdale Inclusion Support Service (CISS), which offers vocational training for adults who use mental health services in Calderdale.

As part of Jubilee celebrations chefs from the nationally renowned Cooking School, based in Dean Clough, provided training for Refresh trainees. As well as learning new skills participants had the chance to rework the traditional Coronation Chicken to devise a modern take on the sandwich.

Constance Spry, a florist, and Rosemary Hume, a chef, are credited with the invention of coronation chicken. Preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as Coronation Chicken.

Variations of the traditional mixture cooked on the day included adding apple and raisins, spring onions and even a vegetarian version. A winning combination was then selected to go on sale during Jubilee week to show off the new skills and flavours developed on the day.

Calderdale Council’s wellbeing and social care manager, Denise Mountain, says the tuition from a professional chef from The Cooking School provided the trainees and the volunteers with all the skills they need to run the café.

“Refresh Café is all about giving people who have experienced mental illness the confidence to get back into the world of work. While that’s not necessarily into the catering industry, giving people these kinds of skills boosts their confidence enormously.”

Matthew Benson-Smith, Chef at The Cooking School, said, “At The Cooking School we are involved in training at all levels of skill and development, from professional training of this nature through to family cooking sessions and leisure courses for food enthusiasts. We were thrilled to be able to deliver this training to Refresh Café and know just how much confidence can be developed in understanding food and health. The wrap we devised is a new take on an old favourite and recognises the enormous popularity of the dish.”

Anna Basford, Calderdale district director for the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said, “This was an ideal opportunity for trainees to get involved in jubilee celebrations at the same time as enhancing their cooking skills.”

The Refresh Café can be found on the ground floor of the Piece Hall in Halifax.

About Refresh Café

The Trust is working in collaboration with the the Calderdale Inclusion Support Service (CISS) to give local people with mental health problems the opportunity to gain the training and experience necessary to help them on the path towards paid work, voluntary work or further training.

The first trainees joined the café, which is jointly funded by Calderdale Council and the Trust, in July 2011. Trainees are able to attend shifts at the café to help build their confidence and develop new skills to show to potential employers or future trainers they have the skills required to enter the workplace.

Dale Szydelko, who works for the CISS, said, “Through the Refresh project we provide training and work experience in a real working environment. This can be vital in increasing people‘s confidence and helping them back on the right track.”

It‘s not just all go in the café, but the adjoining workshop is buzzing with activity. Another group of people looking to develop their vocational skills in woodwork have been making all the furniture for the café and the space acts as a showroom to show off their skills. A selection of the furniture made in the workshop and on show is all available for sale.

Read more about the star studded opening of Refresh on page 6 of Like Minds issue 7

A taste of the Jubilee in Halifax

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