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London school pupils receive ultimate seal of approval

London school pupils receive ultimate seal of approval as Melissa Hemsley and Xanthe Clay join Borough Market’s judging panel ahead of this year’s Young Marketeers Winter Soup Sale.

Media Release: Friday 27th January 2023

Pupils from four London schools are busy making final tweaks to their winter soup and bread recipes ahead of next week’s annual Young Marketeers Winter Soup Sale at Borough Market – with the help of some extra special expert judges. Food critic, author and sustainability champion Melissa Hemsley and columnist, chef and food writer Xanthe Clay visited Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington, this week, along with the Market’s new CEO Jane Swift, to sample and judge some of the pupils’ recipes.

The sale will take place on Thursday 2nd February from 12-2pm where four schools will set up stalls in London’s iconic food market and sell their delicious creations to the public, raising money for The Felix Project. Every £1 provides enough food for six tasty meals for vulnerable people across the capital.

The Winter Soup Sale is an annual event and forms part of the Young Marketeers Programme, now in its 11th year. Run by School Food Matters in partnership with Borough Market, the programme teaches students about how to avoid food waste, eat seasonally and develop their cookery skills as well as giving them the entrepreneurial skills to market and sell their goods, thanks to advice from the Market’s expert traders.

Pupils taking part are taught by the School Food Matters food teacher how to make three tasty soups using seasonal vegetables, while Borough Market’s popular bakers at Bread Ahead give the students a ciabatta breadmaking masterclass to serve alongside their soup.

The soups are tested by a judging panel of Borough Market specialists ahead of the sale, to ensure the quality and flavour meets Market standards. Students can then refine their recipes before the big day.

Food critic, author and sustainability champion Melissa Hemsley, said: “It’s so heart-warming to see young people learning about food. The Young Marketeers Programme is a fantastic platform for school children to gain invaluable cooking skills and understand where their food comes from, and this new knowledge really shone through in their soup creations. What I also love about this programme is that the children learn about food waste and food poverty through its connection with The Felix Project – an organisation I have been working with closely over the last four years. I wish the pupils the best of luck in raising funds for this important cause through their winter soup sale next week.”

Columnist, chef and food writer Xanthe Clay said: “What a fantastic initiative by Borough Market and School Food Matters. The soups made by the students were all delicious – we had a tough time choosing a winning soup as so much had gone into each one, but the deep flavoured, satisfying Caldo Verde was irresistible. This scheme combining cooking skills, reducing waste, and business know-how alongside supporting food poverty NGOs, really engaged the students on so many levels and I can’t wait to hear how the day selling soup at Borough Market goes.” 

The Young Marketeers will be selling their freshly made produce in the glass fronted Market Hall. In line with Borough Market’s commitment to sustainability, the soup will be served in compostable containers with no single use plastic cutlery on site.

Jane Swift, CEO at Borough Market, said:“The Winter Soup Sale is a highlight of our Young Marketeers Programme, as the children gain essential skills and knowledge on how to use seasonal vegetables to produce delicious, nutritious meals from scratch. It is always so rewarding for the pupils taking part to see members of the public buying and enjoying their creations in a world-famous Market. Not only do they get a better understanding on where their food comes from and how to cook with it, but our traders are also on hand to give them top tips to build on their entrepreneurial skills. This year we’re thrilled that students are also gaining expertise from such renowned food experts as Melissa and Xanthe – and we’re sure that the soups will taste better than ever as a result!”

Stephanie Slater, Founder and Chief Executive of School Food Matters, said: “We’re all about food education – teaching children where their food comes from, how it grows and how to cook it. Our Young Marketeers Programme gives students the chance to experience the wonderful joy of baking, cooking and experimenting with different flavours while honing their enterprise skills as they prepare for the big Sale Day. Every young person across the country deserves quality food education to set them up for their future, which means we must reframe food education as a subject worthy of the same attention as English and maths.”

To date, the partnership with School Food Matters has seen more than 200 schools attend ‘trader training’. Some students have grown their own fruit and veg and sold it at the Market, while others have made soup from seasonal produce. Over the years, £10,414 has been raised for FareShare and The Felix Project, providing 62,482 meals for vulnerable families.

Borough Market has also released a special guide to soup, packed with tips, tricks and recipes from the Market’s experts. The guide can be accessed here.  


Notes to Editors

  1. The schools taking part in the Winter Sale are: Bacon’s College (Rotherhithe), Lilian Baylis Technology School (Kennington), St Gabriel’s College (Lambeth) and The Charter School East Dulwich
  2. The Winter Sale will take place between 12-2pm at Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL on Thursday 2nd February
  3. The Deputy Mayor of Southwark will be attending the event between 1-1.30pm
  4. Spokespeople will be available for interview, including Kate Howell, Director of Communications and Engagement at Borough Market, Stephanie Slater (Founder/Chief Executive, School Food Matters), and students/teachers involved in the project. Professional photography from the event will also be available to picture desks.

About Borough Market   

Borough Market is a source of quality British and international produce, but it is more than just a place to buy or sell food. It’s a place where people come to connect, to share food and awaken their senses. Borough has long been synonymous with food markets and as far back as 1014, and probably much earlier, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since. Many of the Markets traders also now sell their produce online, meaning those unable to make it to the Market can still access a selection of the Market’s exceptional range of artisanal produce. Details can be found through the Borough Market online directory.

In addition to the traders selling fresh produce from their stalls, Borough Market also houses a selection of restaurants and bars. Diners can enjoy Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Bao Borough, Berenjak Borough, Elliot’s, Fish! Restaurant, Mallow, Maria’s Market Café, Padella, Rambutan, Roast Restaurant, Silka, Sons + Daughters, Tapas Brindisa, Turnips restaurant and Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House, while those looking for something to drink can head to Bedales of Borough, The Cider House, The Globe Tavern and The Rake.

Borough Market’s mission is to continue to provide a world class food market at Borough for the community of London and beyond. It is owned by a charitable trust and run by a board of volunteer trustees. The trust is committed to supporting the local community around Borough Market. We regularly run community events and we support local community projects and schemes.   


About School Food Matters

School Food Matters exists to teach children about food and to improve access to healthy, sustainable food during their time at school.

We provide fully funded food education programmes to schools. Our experience delivering these programmes informs and strengthens our campaigns, bringing the voices of children, parents and teachers to government policy.