I was very lucky to attend the final of the Busy Bees Sensational Soup 2013 competition. Although my children never attended a Busy Bees nursery they both attended nurseries since they were babies. I think a good nursery is worth it’s weight in gold. Busy Bees is the UK’s largest childcare nursery provider with 213 nurseries worldwide. Each of their day nurseries are specifically designed to suit the needs of a child, with large, bright, colourful play rooms and outdoor play areas, complete with modern equipment and a variety of age appropriate toys that children adore. Their child-centred approach promotes the development of creativity, individuality and self-confidence, whilst delivering the highest standards of nursery care.
Marg Randles, Managing Director and Co-founder explained to me that Busy Bees are passionate about delivering the best food possible to their children. Despite having tried and tested menus that fulfill all the required standards to fit their big network of nurseries, within each establishment they have some amazing chefs. These chefs have so much imagination and creativity to offer, which needed to be incorporated into the menu. Busy Bees wanted to get soup on the menu and also to get the children involved in the process and so the Sensational Soup competition was born. Busy Bees is divided into 9 regions and each of the region held their own competition. The 9 finalists were then invited to a ‘soup off’ held at The Carnarvon Arms, Highclere and judged by Marg Randles and associates, with Marco Pierre White’s Executive Chef Andy Bennet.
What an impossible competition to judge. The quality and creativity of soups and breads on offer was incredible. But what was notable was the involvement and thought each establishment had put into the decision and story of each individual soup. It made me wish that my children had gone to a Busy Bees nursery. Getting children to eat a balanced healthy diet is one of the great battles of parenting, especially if you have a child like my 10 year old son, who has always used food as a means of control. Having a tactile and creative relationship with food has always helped me overcome this battle. Of all the soups I tasted today, my personal favourite was the Bacon & Beetroot soup which was delicious. In a nursery environment where establishments are challenged with emerging food intolerances and stringent guidelines creative soups can be a one fits all solution to offer a healthy, hearty balanced meal on a cold winters day.
I am pleased to exclusively announce that Sandra’s Curried Cauliflower & Carrot soup with Beetroot Bread was the winner. The bread was indeed incredible – light, fluffy and slightly sweet – the soup filling, smooth and with a very gentle curry flavouring.
Of course, the standard of competition was so high that there are whispers that Busy Bees will be doing a #Souper book which they absolutely should. Andy Bennet declared that the soup would be on the menu at The Carnarvon Arms in honour of the competition, which is without doubt sensationally souper!! Congratulations so Sandra!!
And don’t forget to sign the PETITION to MAKE CHILDCARE 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE – you know it makes sense!!!