Phorms Campus Hamburg – Culinary world tour

An all-year-long, authentic, cross-curricular, cross-campus project, spanning multiple years and beyond school


‘In my class there are 21 children representing 13 different nationalities. When a student has a birthday, we sing “Happy Birthday” in so many different languages that it can take quite a while,’ says Robin Schorlemer, primary school teacher at the Phorms Campus Hamburg. The cultural diversity on campus has inspired the ‘Phorms Fusion Food’ project. The project brings a variety of mixed age groups and classes from across the whole school, and aims to produce a Phorms fusion food blog created by the students themselves, from the illustrations, resources, to the recipes. The exercise is intended to strengthen the sense of community within and beyond the school, and raise the children’s awareness of nutritional issues. The project is not only embedded into the everyday school life, it is also structured around the Project Days, which take place every year at the campus. A total of 360 students from years 1 to 9 have been participating.

From the concept and design through to the final presentation – the whole school community learns and cooks together, across all classes. Students have tried out dishes from their homeland with their parents at home, and recipes have already been cooked and tasted from countries including Eritrea, Venezuela, Turkey, Poland, Iran, Russia, South Africa, Germany, Canada, England, France and Japan. These now have to be written up and illustrated during the Project Days, and more recipes developed for the food blog.

See and taste the cultural diversity

Matthia (6) from year 1, Landira (7) from year 2, David (10) from year 4 and John Henri (13) from year 8 discuss their favourite dishes and why they should be in the Phorms fusion food blog. They are also brainstorming ideas on the topic of ‘eating and enjoying’ and making posters about different flavours and tastes. ‘My favourite food is pizza,’ says Matthia. ‘But that’s normal, you’re from Italy,’ replies Landira. Matthia actually speaks three languages: Italian and German at home, and he is learning English at Phorms. David is also trilingual, and speaks Farsi as well as German and English. He describes the delicious rice kebab dish his mother makes: ‘It’s made with very special spices,’ he says. John Henri’s grandmother is from India. ‘Certain dishes she serves we eat with our hands, like they do in India. My favourite is her chicken curry with rice,’ the 13-year-old says.

Another group is concentrating on salad dressing. Secondary school teacher Jeremy Fehr and primary school teacher Drazen Ivanisevic – known as Mr D – have organised a ‘salad dressing challenge’. The students are divided into four small groups. Each of them brings a few ingredients from home and uses them to create their own salad dressing. Afterwards, the children are blindfolded to do a taste test, and then vote on which dressing they like the best. The winning dressing is then prepared for the whole school the next day and immortalised in the Phorms food blog. To go with the salad and the home-made dressing, the students have baked their own and homemade bread rolls. Around 40 students have worked hard, kneading the homemade dough, producing approximately 300 rolls! One or two of the students entertain each other by startling peers with their doughy fingers – meanwhile the older students from secondary look after the younger members of the group. ‘It can be a bit slow with the younger ones, but they’re sweet. It also helps that I cook at home,’ says Ricarda (13) from year 8.

A culinary and cultural world tour

‘You can see and taste the cultural diversity,’ says Robin Schorlemer, who was born in Australia. The Phormative education conference 2015 gave her even more inspiration for the cooking project. She presented her idea at the teachers’ conference, quite spontaneously, and was immediately inspired to put her words into action. ‘There should be constructive communication between students, parents and teachers that doesn’t just centre on the school day, or homework,’ says Schorlemer. ‘The kitchen is supposed to be a place where stories are shared and culinary specialities discovered and adapted. The dinner table is also a place where eating rituals are learnt.’

As a result of the ‘Phorms Fusion Food’  project, the campus is very interested in creating a kitchen facility at the school, as well as a recipe blog, which is a long-term project. ‘It has been a fun, authentic and creative learning experience for all, and everyone at Campus Hamburg looks forward to the future developments,’ says Robin Schorlemer.

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