Cooking with Flavour, Spice and Soul
An interview with Chef Peter Soulsby, Teacher of Food Technology & Nutrition
Peter Soulsby joined the British School of Bucharest in August 2020 as a teacher of Food Technology & Nutrition and a Coordinator for Food Technology in Primary. Peter trained and worked as a chef before completing his PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) at Sunderland University in 2009. He brings with him over 10 years of teaching experience in the United Kingdom, where Peter taught Food Technology in a variety of schools.
Why did you become a chef?
My interest in food and cooking started when I was young. I loved to mess about in the kitchen when my parents were preparing meals. My parents owned hotels and always encouraged me to get involved in the kitchens. When I was a teenager, I started working part time in the kitchens and really enjoyed it. This helped me develop my passion for cooking, so when I was 16 I decided to train to be a chef.
How did you get into teaching?
After a little thought, I applied to do a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education). As soon as I started the course, it wasn’t long before I realised this was definitely the path I wished to pursue. I found it very rewarding being able to share my knowledge and skills with the next generation. I have yet to come across a youngster who doesn’t enjoy creating an appetising dish and eating it.
What attracted you to joining BSB?
BSB offered me a new challenge and experience and the opportunity to live in a new country.
What do you love about your job?
No two days are the same. I love to see pupils develop an interest in and understand the importance that food plays in our lives.
What are your plans for the Yummy BSB programme?
I would like to introduce a variety of skills using a wide range of ingredients, some familiar, some unusual, but always stressing the importance of a healthy diet and of course making the cooking process fun and appealing. It would be good to trace various staple foods back to their source and research how they are used in different traditional dishes in different countries.
What are the benefits of learning to cook from a young age?
Food plays such an important part throughout our lives; I think you can’t start early enough. You plant an idea and watch the interest grow and develop.
Is the Home Cooking trend here to stay?
I wasn’t aware that home cooking was a new trend. People have always cooked at home, it’s part of family life and plays an important part in traditions all over the world. Recipes have been handed down from one generation to the next for thousands of years.
Of course, now ready meals are available, as a lot of people reckon they haven’t got time to cook at home, strangely it has become a huge part of the entertainment business judging by the number of TV programmes.
However, people still enjoy cooking from scratch, experimenting and modifying methods to suit their lifestyle.
Any tips for parents dealing with fussy eaters?
Ha ha! My parents will tell you that I was the fussiest eater on the planet. Their way of dealing with that was to involve me with the process, from the shopping to producing the finished dish. Not sure how well it worked though! Above all, all mealtimes should be fun. No place for stress.
What important skills can be developed through cooking?
All sorts of skills can be developed through the process of cooking including weighing and measuring, time management, leadership, using a wide variety of tools and utensils safely, hygiene rules, creative skills, the list goes on and on.
What is you signature dish?
I have passion for Indian food and I make a very good curry!
What are the important lessons you learn from working in a kitchen?
The top priority is working safely. There is a lot of very dangerous equipment around from very sharp knives, hot utensils, slippery floors etc. It is very important to learn to use equipment safely. Equally important is to apply the rules of hygiene to everything you do.
What is your dream job?
I would love to open a small hotel with a restaurant in Cornwall, UK serving local food and produce.
Tell us something unexpected about yourself.
I have played the violin since I was 7 and I love skiing.