Deirde Doyle - cooking for kids every day (often in fancy dress)

Deirdre Doyle
from Deirdre

Deirdre Doyle – Cool Food School

In a theme familiar to readers of these pages from Wicklow Good News Deirdre Doyle’s business stopped with COVID19. The day the schools were closed was the same day her business effectively stopped. The Cool Food School had been set up in 2018 by Deirdre to teach children how to enjoy a healthy diet by cooking fresh food. The workshops run by Deirdre are characterised by fun, stories, and sensory exploration. In some cases if the children don’t want to eat the food at the end of the class it’s not a problem.

“Forcing a child to eat a food is the best way to turn them off that food forever. Even bribing children to eat foods with a treat afterwards is also counterproductive,” says Deirdre. “Studies have shown that the reward or bribe method only makes the rewarding food more attractive and the forced food even less liked.”

In her workshops the children are encouraged to smell, feel and cut and cook the food on offer. Taste is the very last component and even then Deirdre does not force this section. “I ask them to taste it, even taste it and then spit it out, but it’s not compulsory. The whole emphasis is to get the children to enjoy the food, even if it is just in the making.

Deirdre’s world was further reduced when the lockdown was instituted a few days later. She normally exhibits at food festivals around the country and these too were cancelled.

The day after her business closed Deirdre was really low. She did not get dressed until 4pm. She knew this was not good. Then she had her eureka moment.

“I decided to run my workshops live on Facebook and Instagram so I could still share the fun of healthy eating. It’s a great focal point for my day.”

Deirdre has been doing it every day at twelve noon since March 16 and will continue throughout the lockdown. Parents and children have provided great feedback as well as suggestions of what she might cook next. In addition, she often dresses up as a character to deliver her cookery class – which is fun for the children but which has also been very helpful for Deirdre.

“Today is chicken fajitas,” she says and since I have been planning on doing that one night I’ll be tuning in too.

To follow her workshops check out Cool Food School on Facebook and Instagram at 12 noon every day.

Wicklow Good News was set up by Jillian Godsil and Marlena Murphy to celebrate the resilience and the enthusiam of Wicklow Citizens during the COVID19 pandemic.



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