Sheffield school cook hangs up her apron after 40 years in the kitchen

Barbara Renshaw is retiring as a pastry chef at Tapton School after 40 years. Her flapjack is very popular with hungry pupils and teaching staff. Picture: Andrew Roe
Barbara Renshaw is retiring as a pastry chef at Tapton School after 40 years. Her flapjack is very popular with hungry pupils and teaching staff. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A Sheffield school cook famous for her delicious sweet treats has hung up her apron after nearly 40 years in the kitchen.

Barbara Renshaw, from Lodge Moor, has worked in the same kitchen at Tapton Secondary School for nearly four decades.

Barbara Renshaw is retiring as a pastry chef at Tapton School after 40 years, with the kitchen staff. Picture: Andrew Roe

Barbara Renshaw is retiring as a pastry chef at Tapton School after 40 years, with the kitchen staff. Picture: Andrew Roe

In her long career, she’s served thousands of children, some from two generations of the same family.

“One of the girls told me when she started work that I served her when she was at school!” she said.

“It’s amazing when you think about it. I’ve said before I’m part of the furniture and fittings at Tapton.”

Barbara said she will miss her ‘fabulous’ team most.

Barbara inspects the latest fresh batch of her delicious flapjack which is a staple favourite at the school

Barbara inspects the latest fresh batch of her delicious flapjack which is a staple favourite at the school

“The girls over the years have been absolutely amazing. They’re all stars. We’ve laughed together and cried together. They’ve supported me over the years and everyone has been so friendly.

“The children have been great as well. You have one or two every now and again being a bit of a nuisance but they seem to like the flapjack. It definitely comes out on top, it flies out of the kitchen.”

Barbara, who is in the kitchen from 7.30am every school day, said the food is completely different compared to the late 70s.

“I’ve seen lots of changes over the years but the main one is the standard and type of food,” she said.

Barbara Renshaw is retiring as a pastry chef at Tapton School after 40 years with kitchen manager Mary Martin-Hewitt (c) and cook Sam Jones. Picture: Andrew Roe

Barbara Renshaw is retiring as a pastry chef at Tapton School after 40 years with kitchen manager Mary Martin-Hewitt (c) and cook Sam Jones. Picture: Andrew Roe

“At one time it was chips, chips and chips and burgers. Now it’s a lot more healthy and the kids have more choice.”

The 65-year-old grandmother of six took the job in her 20s so she could work around her five-year-old son being at school – but she loved it so much she wanted to carry on.

She started at Hallam Primary School before moving to Tapton.

Catering assistant Cheryl Hammonds said: “There’s already been lots of tears! It’s a great team we’re all there for each other and Barbara feels like one of the family.

Barbara hard at work on one of her last shifts at the school before retiring. Picture: Andrew Roe.

Barbara hard at work on one of her last shifts at the school before retiring. Picture: Andrew Roe.

“The kids saw the banners up the other day and kept asking whose birthday it was. We told them that Barbara was retiring and they were shouting through the hatch ‘we love you miss, your flapjacks are amazing, we’re going to miss you’.

“She’s so lovely and we’ll all miss her.”

Barbara added: “I’m not too sure what’s next. It was time to have a bit of time to myself and take things easier. I might do some voluntary work.”