It’s a long way to the top if you’re serving sausage rolls

Published:22 November 2017

Amanda McLardy pictured in her element within the school tuckshop.

What’s it take to be Queensland’s top school tuckshop convenor for the second year in a row?

It certainly helps to ditch almost every option that is not cooked from scratch, including chicken chippies, pies and hot dogs.

It also helps to be able to pick fresh herbs and vegetables from the school’s own garden and serve them on the same day.

Farnborough State School tuckshop convenor Amanda McLardy is also studying towards CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Home Economics specialisation course.

She attributes her success in the tuckshop convenor awards to her parallel role at the school, as coordinator of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.

“When I first arrived at Farnborough we had this amazing kitchen garden but were still serving packaged foods in the tuckshop,” Amanda says.

“Now we have freshly made Mexican, Sushi and curries, and the only packaged foods are yoghurts and icy poles.

“I see my roles with the garden and tuckshop as going hand in hand.”

Amanda says she was inspired to try cooking and sewing by her own home economics teacher in school.

Now she has extensive experience in hospitality and catering and runs her own hobby sewing business from home. She’s also had teacher aide roles supporting Home Economics teachers.

As a mother of three school-age children, Amanda plans to manage her time by going to full-time with her CQUni study program from next year onwards.

She will be sad to leave her tuckshop role but hopes the healthy menu will continue.

The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops runs the annual tuckshop awards, open to hundreds of convenors across the state and judged with help from organisations including Parents and Citizens Queensland and Queensland Health.

CQUni Home Economics Lecturer Dr Jay Deagon says that "Amanda’s life experiences and passion for sustainable practices and healthy happy children are a valuable asset to our profession and her school community".

"She is an inspiration to me. I am sincerely gladdened to have Amanda studying with us to become a Home Economics teacher," Dr Deagon says.