Chefs In Schools
Brand Identity, Stationery, Literature, Illustration & Web Design

Chefs in Schools is a charity dedicated to changing food and food education in UK schools. CIS was created by Henry Dimbleby (co-author of the 2013 School Food Plan and co-owner of the Leon chain of restaurants) and chef Nicole Pisani.

Reading a tweet from Henry, calling for someone to take over the kitchen at his children’s school in Hackney, Nicole decided to take the gamble of a lifetime. Leaving her high-profile job as head chef at Ottolenghi’s NOPI restaurant, she set about revolutionising the food culture at Gayhurst Community School. Out went plastic trays and processed foods and in came plates, meals cooked from scratch, cookery lessons and fire-pits in the playground.

The model that Nicole started is now rolling out to other schools in Hackney and soon the country. The Chefs In Schools concept, along with the School Food Plan, aims to tackle obesity and diet related diseases at their route. It has far reaching consequences, among them a healthier, happier society and a less burdened NHS.

For the brand identity, the CIS team wanted an icon that would appeal to schools and chefs alike: It need to be reassuring but contemporary, and able to sit next to brandmarks from top London restaurants. Since nothing like this had been done before, the brandmark also needed to be unusual with an air of intrigue and revolution. The team were also keen to not include clichéd imagery, including children, chef accoutrements or overt school references. It was a tough brief.

The final mark draws on heraldry and the classic school badge shape, with the internal components comprising the 3 pillars of the CIS model: What Works Well, School By School and Better Is Possible. The shield is set on fire, a reference not only to the revolutionary nature of CIS but also to cooking in it’s most primal form. Both shield and wordmark use a reassuring cornflower blue with the flame adding an unexpected flash of shocking pink.

Cookery class and veggies photos by Issy Croker