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Restaurant lets pupils cook their own dishes
Buy this photo » Kody and Ben sort out the dishes for the food they have cooked
INDIAN culture was at the heart of a day of activities for schoolchildren at a town centre restaurant.
Children from Lawn Primary School were whisked off on an Asian adventure at the Jewel in the Crown restaurant in Victoria Road as a part of a school topic on Indian culture, after an approach from the eatery.
Owner Muzammil Ali opened the restaurant in 1987 and in every one of its 26 years of business various Swindon pupils have been treated to a tour of the restaurant, a cooking masterclass and talks on Indian culture.
Sixty children attended Monday’s outing, with three groups of 20 eight and nine-year-olds shown by the experienced Mr Ali how to create naan bread, chicken tikka and an authentic chicken curry.
Whilst the children absorbed the sights, smells and feel of the subcontinent’s delicacies, Mr Ali was happy to admit that there was business thinking behind his invitation.
“They are my future customers,” he said. “For the next 20 years they will remain in Swindon and eat here, just as previous generations have.
“There are people all over Swindon who have come here aged five and 10, and returned as adult customers.
“I enjoy it too. Everybody knows about Jewel in the Crown – hundreds of schools have come here and its message has spread.”
Mr Ali also said this was a legacy for him and his restaurant. He said he wanted the future generations of Swindon to understand and embrace the Indian culture and food.
Almost every child had the opportunity to create a dough for the naan, skewer the chicken tikka and, most importantly, try their produce.
Claire Arthur, one of the teachers attending with the school, said: “We had never heard of this before. The children are currently doing a topic on India and this trip fitted in perfectly.
“We approached Mr Ali a few weeks ago and he was more than happy to assist.
“We wanted to see how things behind the scenes work. Let’s face it, how many of us have actually been into a kitchen like this?
“The kids have been very excited about this trip and the first thing they commented on was the decorations around the restaurant.”
As the food began to come out, various children made observations on the food they had made, with even a few measured comments of judgement made.
Eight year old Tom Wood, said: “It’s just like Masterchef. It tastes so, so good.”
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