We are really excited that TV Chefs and food educators Louise Lennox and Aisling Larkin for Foodoppi will be coming to the Midlands next week for the Midlands Science Festival to present a show exploring food! Foodoppi’s Molecular Gastronomy Live Event is an exciting, fun, fast-paced science & food show which gives audiences an opportunity to see food become experiments you can eat! The show directly links to the primary science curriculum integrating learning objectives from sections such as Living Things, Energy and Force and Materials and Change. Louise Lennox is one of Ireland’s leading chefs, broadcasters and food writers. Having featured in a number of popular television and radio shows for over 15 years, she is best known as the chef who is “full of personality” from the hit television series, The Restaurant. Aisling Larkin is tv chef, a busy mum of 3, food media broadcaster, feeding and mindful eating coach. Aisling appears each week on Virgin Media One’s Six O Clock Show teaching the nation her creative and functional & umami filled family-friendly recipes..We caught up with Louise in advance of the festival….
Q: Louise, you are a leading chef, food writer, broadcaster, a children’s food media specialist and the co.founder of Foodoppi.com ..can you tell us about Foodoppi and what led you to setting it up?
A: I wanted to share my passion and vision that food literacy is as important as the basic subjects thought in schools across Ireland. We eat at least 5 times a day, every child should leave school with a basic understanding for what food is.
In 2016 I met my business partner Aisling Larkin and we combined over thirty years of experience in food, science and nutrition together and Foodoppi was born.
The name Foodoppi means ‘food learning’ in Finnish. In 2017 Foodoppi was one of 10 companies selected from thousands across Europe to further develop our food education program in Finland, who are the world leaders in education. Foodoppi an Ed Tech company which creates online food and science courses for parents and the Department of Education.
Outside of the classroom Foodoppi began to help parents who were experiencing difficulties in getting their children to eat working with families offering live masterclasses, online courses, webinars and 1:1 online private consultation. I experienced first-hand what the stresses and problems living with a fussy eating child can bring and impact on the child’s well-being. In order to expand our knowledge in this area, we travelled to America and trained at The Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston. Part of my mission at Foodoppi is to make food education a global reality and to help change children’s food eating habits for a lifetime. Using science we make food fun, interesting and delicious.
Q: You focus a lot of your work on helping families understand the science of eating, do you have a helpful hint you can share with us for small fussy eaters?
A: Making food fun and playing with purpose.
This is very important part of learning, learning anything. If it is fun it doesn’t feel like learning.
Playing with the food makes it less threatening to your child and increases the likelihood that they will interact with it. Introducing food based play reduces children’s anxiety of thinking they may be forced to put this food in their mouth. Allowing them to explore at there own pace and them taking charge gives a more positive experience.Resulting in a greater change of the child building confidence and tasting the food.
Q:Have you always had an interest in/passion for food?
A:Yes, my mum started up her own food business and I use to help her after school when I was a child. I am dyslexic and I was so lucky to have an incredible teacher Mr.Banville in 5th and 6th class in primary school. He instilled self belief in me when I had none, by giving me homework to simply bake a cake. It was the first time I felt I was good at something and that feeling stayed with me all through my school years when other teachers would put me down. I have so much respect for him as he was able to look beyond the traditional academic ability schools back then scored children’s intelligence. Mr.Banville saw my own personal talents and helped them blossom and for that I will always be so grateful to him.
Q:What is your favourite part of your job?
A:To be honest it is so difficult to pin point just one favourite part. I love how creative and innovate my job is. No two days are the same. It makes me so happy when you see and hear the laughter and fun children have when we work with them. The other side is getting so many emails from parents thanking us for helping their family with getting their children to eat new foods.
Q:Midlands Science is working to encourage more young people to consider science as a future career option. Why are events like the Midlands Science Festival so important do you think?
A: It helps to breakdown the barrier and show cases that science is all around us. It also removes the stereotype that science is white lab coats and very serious. By showcasing how fun science is, we hope to spark an interest and encourage lots of the young people to see science in a different light and a possible future career. In our show “Eat Your Science” we show children that you can learn a lot about science using food and it tastes delicious.