Tatler unveils its pick of the best school dinners in England – including Millfield’s roast pork

Tatler has unveiled its pick of the best school dinners in the UK – with students dining out on roasted pork loins and snacking on healthy quinoa salad bars. 

The society bible’s Schools Awards 2021 is packed with world-class educational institutions for children aged four to 18 – with one category in particular focusing on schools serving up the finest food for well heeled pupils.

And there are no ‘jellied eels’ or Turkey Twizzlers in sight at these prestigious establishments, with some offering roast dinners for lunch, specialised vegan menus, and even hosting formal dinners and themed events for students each term.

Here FEMAIL dives into the schools that have been dubbed the best in the country with their tasty dishes… 

Benenden School

Girls at Benenden are encouraged to go out and ‘seize every opportunity’ – and headteacher Samantha Price ensures they are well fed with a delicious menu of locally-sourced food

It’s easy to see why Benenden was a good fit for its most prestigious alumni, Princess Anne. 

Its pupils parachute out of planes, trek to Annapurna base camp, play rugby, race self-built cars and team up with its partner school John Wallis Academy to build microlights. 

And headteacher Samantha Price ensures they’re well fed for every outing, with the school serving up freshly-prepared and locally-sourced food every school day.

Famous and prestigious alumni at the £13,124-a-term boarding school in Kent include Princess Anne

 Famous and prestigious alumni at the £13,124-a-term boarding school in Kent include Princess Anne 

With a team of chef on-hand during the week to serve up delicious food, the staff create innovative and nutritious menus from  from home-cooked favourites to the most sophisticated dining. 

Lunch options for hungry pupils include a Hot Smoked Salmon, Chive, Parmesan Soufflé, while others may be more partial to the Stir-fried Chard, Ginger, Soy and Garlic noodles.

Meanwhile pupils can also dine out on Slow Braised Beef Ragu and Lamb & Oregano Meat Balls for supper. 

Bradfield College

The dedicated catering team at £24,000-a-year Bradfield College serve up a range of hearty meals for staff and pupils at the school

The dedicated catering team at £24,000-a-year Bradfield College serve up a range of hearty meals for staff and pupils at the school

The dedicated catering team at £24,000-a-year Bradfield College serve up a range of hearty meals for staff and pupils at the school (left, a beetroot salad, and right, roast beef) 

The £24,000-a-year Bradfield College is a co-educational boarding and day for 13 to 18 year olds situated in the Berkshire countryside within an hour of London.

And it has a dedicated catering team response for providing ‘diverse and interesting menus across breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.’ 

For lunch, pupils and staff can choose from wide a selection of main dishes, a salad bar, pasta bar, soup, fruit and desserts. 

A range of cooked and continental choices is available for breakfast and those having supper enjoy a variety of tempting dishes. 

Pupils at the prestigious school form an active role in shaping the menus and can join the Catering Committee with students recently crafting a vegan menu

Pupils at the prestigious school form an active role in shaping the menus and can join the Catering Committee with students recently crafting a vegan menu 

The kitchen brigade prepare all dishes in the two College kitchens from fresh, seasonal ingredients.  

Pupils form an active role in shaping the menus at the school and can join the Catering Committee, which meets regularly each term and make suggestions and on occasion, create entire menus. 

In recent times, pupils crafted a new vegan menu to reflect the growing number of pupils choosing a vegan diet.

And on Saturdays, lucky parents visiting the College for sports fixtures can enjoy ‘Match Teas’ including fresh sandwiches, scones and cakes, with all prepared on site and baked on the day.

Millfield 

Meanwhile £40,000-a-year school Millfield, in Somerset, provides students with a 'super salad bar' to choose from

Meanwhile £40,000-a-year school Millfield, in Somerset, serves up a range of classicly British and 'world food' choices

Meanwhile £40,000-a-year school Millfield, in Somerset, provides students with a ‘super salad bar’ to choose from (left) as well as serving up a range of classically British and ‘world food’ choices (right)

Millfield, a £40,000-a-year school in Somerset, where stars such as F2 driver Lando Norris, singer Lily Allen, son of Sir Sean Connery Jason Connery, and drummer of The Police Stewart Copeland have attended, also makes the list – and it’s not hard to figure out why.

One of the school’s Head Chefs, Richard Meakin, worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Bibendum in London for 15 years.

And the menu doesn’t disappoint, with a range of classic meals on offer – from roast pork loin to baked fish with paella and vegetable yaki soba with oriental crackers, students won’t be going hungry at the Somerset school.  

The school, which is often counted among the best in the UK for young aspiring athletes, also has an extensive salad bar ranging from seasonal, individual vegetable to grain based “super salads”, lean protein and homemade dressings. 

One of the school's Head Chefs, Richard Meakin, worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Bibendum in London for 15 years

One of the school’s Head Chefs, Richard Meakin, worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Bibendum in London for 15 years

The boarding school, in Somerset, is often counted among the best in the UK for young aspiring athletes

The boarding school, in Somerset, is often counted among the best in the UK for young aspiring athletes

Terrington Hall 

Terrington Hall School, an  Independent, co-education, day and boarding School for children aged 3-13, in the Heart of the Howardian Hills, North Yorkshire, also made the list with it’s extensive dining menu.

Children attending Terrington can expect to dine out on akin to restaurant quality, such as roasted local old sport pork loin with apple sauce and homemade pork gravy, followed by chocolate brownie tray bakes. 

Cheltenham Ladies’ College

A poor or dull diet has a significant effect on children’s behaviour, mood and concentration, and Cheltenham Ladies’ College are focused on providing their students the very best.

The team of 85 dedicated catering staff look after ten kitchens in the school, serving wholesome fresh foods for main meals. 

All houses have the same weekly menu and the Catering Services Manager regularly meets with Housemistresses and the girls to discuss what they would like to see on the menu. 

Girls are often given a ‘house choice’ day, where they can choose the House’s evening menu with or without the help from their head chef.

Cheltenham Ladies' College has a dedicated staff team of 85 in order to serve up their students with delicious and healthy meals

Cheltenham Ladies’ College has a dedicated staff team of 85 in order to serve up their students with delicious and healthy meals 

These meals include freshly made breaded chicken strips, spicy potato spirals, sweet potato fries, duck wraps, and many pasta and Quinoa dishes now making their mark! 

Meanwhile they often follow up the meal with a weekly treat, for example, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. 

The school also hosts regular events throughout the year including formal dinners, girls’ socials, Christmas events, themed meals (Chinese New Year, St David’s and St George’s Days, Nigerian Independence Day and the Thai Festival of Water), Summer BBQs, as well as picnics for the whole school on Sports Day. 

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