Our P&C Cookbook

Last year Ainslie Primary released a glossy, professional cookbook as a major fundraiser. P&C President Nova Inkpen details its creation and success.

Ainslie food for PAIn 2013 our School Principal, Kate Chapman, brought a beautiful cookbook to the school that had been developed by Avalon Public School in Sydney. Our Ainslie P&C were instantly drawn to the project and felt confident we could produce a similar high quality product that would not only represent our strong school community and its love of food but also be a great fund raiser!

So over two years a passionate and talented group of Ainslie parents lovingly put together Ainslie Food.  They came together to brainstorm, organise, gather, cook, photograph and edit over 125 recipes.  This group shared their food stories and laughed a lot! 

The cookbook team, a core group of 3 and extended group of 10, decided that as most of us were working full time that we needed to take our time with this important project. It was worth taking the extra time as our finished product has been extremely well received by our school and broader community.

Recipes were submitted by parents, teachers, students, members of our broader community and local businesses including Ainslie IGA, Shop Girl Flower Girl, Italian and Sons, Thirst Winebar and Eatery, and Sage Dining Rooms. With such a broad group of contributors we were able to ensure that the style of food is wonderfully diverse and appealing to wide group of people. We were also able to ensure that we included a combination of simple and more challenging recipes that can be prepared at home.  The businesses who contributed their recipes were also sponsors of the cookbook and made a contribution to the printing costs. This was a great way to reduce the main expense of the cookbook – printing!

With the recipes identified the next critical element to the book’s success was the photography. Through our well connected school community we were able to involve a very talented food photographer – Nathan Lanham www.nathanlanham.com/  His photography literally makes your mouth water! The combination of his photography, our talented home grown cooks and wonderful props made the photo sessions an amazing experience. Nathan didn’t do anything to the food so we were able to taste everything that went into the book!

We were also able to combine Nathan’s food photographs with great images from our school events including our annual fete and walking garden tour called Down the Garden Path. Also in our school community was a journalist who edited our recipes for us and a graphic designer who cleverly put the cookbook together. With input from the main cookbook team, which included a restaurant owner and a photographer, we were able to produce a beautiful celebration of our rich and diverse school community.

We launched our cookbook at local restaurant Sage Dining Rooms with the help of the Education Minister and the Canberra Times. Within two months of the launch we recovered the costs of producing and printing the book and we look forward to continuing to sell copies of Ainslie Food over the next two years including during Ainslie School’s 90th birthday year in 2017.  

The proceeds from our cookbook will enable us to develop our outdoor grounds as great gathering and learning spaces.  We also look forward to further enhancing the learning environment that our passionate and skilful teachers can provide in their classrooms. 

With the support of our beautiful school community, people shared the meals they love that bring their families together. If you would like to share that experience and help our school with our major outdoor grounds and classroom projects you too can own a copy of Ainslie Food for $35. Order online at http://goo.gl/forms/mcmnCKIc5n.


This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 1, 2016. See other past editions of our quarterly magazine. It is part of a series of articles sharing expertise across our P&Cs.