Liverpool John Moores University is making ground-breaking Chinese restaurant Lu Ban a food science and education partner.
Lu Ban, based in the Baltic Triangle, is unique in the UK as a training centre for Chinese culinary arts as well as a working eaterie steeped in the traditions of Tianjin.
Liverpool was chosen as the first-ever Lu Ban location because of its strong sense of community and its vibrant food scene, and LJMU is its first higher education partner.
Wendy Johnston, senior lecturer in Food Studies, took the BSc Nutrition and BSc Sport Nutrition students along for a first series of workshops as the partners began a programme to share expertise, skills and manpower.
“We brought the students to give them an experience different to what they’d get in university. We need them to have some food skills, hands-on skills, to work with foods they haven’t worked with before to work with expert chefs and to have some fun,” she said.
“For us to have collaborative partnerships is really important as it enriches the programme and the student experience.”
Student Leonie Bass: “My favourite part of the day was chatting with chefs and learning what they do in the kitchen. I think it’s really supportive and a good way of educating. I think it’s a really nice project they’ve got going here.”
Another commented: “I’ve learned a lot about Chinese cuisine and the different aspects of the foods involved. I’ll definitely come to this restaurant again.”
The visit included a session on food security and sustainability, and how the industry is adapting, particularly to the growing importance of non-meat foods.
Executive Head Chef Dave Critchley explained: “Lu Ban is a partnership between Liverpool and one of the catering colleges in China; it’s a real interesting project where we showcase Chinese culinary arts in their true form in the UK.
“It’s really important that we collaborate, so that collectively we can pass our knowledge around between universities, schools and other restaurants. I really see this as a big circle of knowledge where we’re taking information from places like LJMU and using that within our industry and vice-versa. Hopefully we’ll get more knowledge, more education and more people interested in nutrition.”