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Kicking goals in food education at Kimberley 9s

Dianne Bortoletto -

The Kimberley 9s beach football carnival organised by the Fremantle Dockers charity arm included a tasty new addition when it was recently held in Broome.

In partnership with the WA Good Food Guide, the Purple Hands Foundation developed a unique dining experience for more than 170 travelling students.

Held on the opening night of the two-day Kimberley 9s Carnival at Cable Beach, the students from remote schools in Western Australia's northwest were seated and treated to a multi-course dinner under the stars.

The Kimberley Connected Program, sponsored by Containers for Change, is an education module about healthy eating, bush foods and nutrition that forms part of the school curriculum which cumulated in the dinner.

Yiyili Aboriginal School high school teacher, Marli Greenway, said the Kimberley 9s is already a highlight of the year for the students and the dinner made it even more special.

"As part of the learning module, students chose local proteins and bush foods, and then put forward a menu in a competition with other schools and it was a thrill to see some of their dishes chosen to be featured on the dinner menu," Ms Greenway said.

The 'Yawuru Dinner' featured dishes including Mermaid Shoal Snapper, Kangaroo and Quandong Pies, Wahu Beef, Damper, Kangaroo Bolognese, Cucumber and Finger Lime Salad. (Image: supplied)

The WA Good Food Guide worked with volunteer chefs Scott Bridger (Bib & Tucker), Rohan Park (Old Young's) and Stephen Watson (Heyder & Shears) who took inspiration from the students' menus to prepare the meal.

"Yiyili is a tiny place, just 300 people live here and there's nowhere to eat out, the closest place is the Halls Creek Roadhouse 120 kilometres away," Ms Greenway said.

"For the kids to be sat down at a fancy table with table cloths and touch lamps and be served by waiters and waitresses, it was amazing to see their excitement and how happy and special it made them feel.

"The food was really good - they were amazed by the entrée, and they couldn't' believe more food was coming out."

The 'Yawuru Dinner' featured dishes including Mermaid Shoal Snapper, Kangaroo and Quandong Pies, Wahu Beef, Damper, Kangaroo Bolognese, Cucumber and Finger Lime Salad.

More than 170 travelling students participated in the dining experience. (Image: supplied)

"As a teacher, it's really powerful and really productive if children can see the real world application of things that they are learning," Ms Greenway said.

"The curriculum was really well designed and both the carnival and the dinner were well organised - the dinner was a standout, ten out of ten!"

WA Good Food Guide director, Georgia Moore, said that in eight years of producing events from truffle dinners to wine pairings, this was by far the most unique, special, and the most rewarding.

"The children were very curious about the food, and they engaged with the chefs who visited each table; the event also gave them an insight into a career in hospitality and the producer industries," Ms Moore said.

Eighteen students and six adults travelled to Broome from Yiyili and they played footy with other schools, as well as against other schools.

This was the first year the dinner was held as part of the regional football carnival.

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