Food at Eton(13 Posts)
Slightly niche question here. Ds is vegetarian. We are choosing houses and have been given a selection of three, with Bekynton and non-Bekynton. Does anyone know what the food is like in Houses which eat in-house for vegetarians, vs the Bekynton food?
This may seem like an odd question but as a full boarder, food really does matter, and I don’t want him eating the meat option minus the meat for five years. His prep school vegetarian food is awful, and I’m hopeful that Eton will be better but I imagine that Bekynton, catering for lots of boys, will do a better job for vegetarians than a house where there may be only two or three boys who don’t eat meat. Is this true though?
Of course I’ll ask the housemasters when we visit, but if I asked my son’s current school they’d tell me the vegetarian food was carefully chosen, delicious and balanced... The first of those might be true!
There’s nothing like first-hand experience to inform, which is why I posted here. If the housemasters aren’t vegetarian they might not be best placed to judge how good or bad the vegetarian food is.
They will provide at least a single vegetarian option for every meal, like every other school in the UK. Hindu friends have said most houses only offer the one veg option (two at a push) and so if he doesn’t like or want it then it’s tough.
Strongly suggest to you, that as boarding is traumatic anyway, if there’s no health reason for the vegetarianism you allow your son to relax it if he wants.
Short answer is: I don't know, as DS is not veggie. However, I wanted to reply! DS says the Bekynton food is 'okay, I suppose'. We had a meal there when he had his interview, and I would concur with that. Apparently the highlight is Sunday brunch (i.e. pains au chocolat , and hot chocolate).
In my experience, the boys of all houses go and buy crap in Budgen's in Eton High Street, or order Domino's pizza from Windsor. So I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the food thing. I know they are our precious boys, but they are teenagers and once out of our sight, they trough white bread, chocolate and Coke (again: thanks to Budgen's). So I would think instead about which housemaster is likely to be a good 'fit' for your DS. The Admissions Tutor was very helpful to us, and found a great one for our DS - who, having never been very happy at prep school, absolutely LOVES Eton...
PS Have to disagree with Raving Too that boarding is 'traumatic'. It has been miraculous for our DS, who wouldn't even go for sleepovers or school trips (I kept all my DC at home until Year 2, so I am not a 'farm 'em out' kind of mother). He couldn't be happier.
RavingRoo the vegetarianism is Ds’s choice. I have other dc who eat meat... I am perfectly happy for him to eat whatever he wants, and he may at some point choose to do so, but I can’t see it any time soon.
Etonianmother thank you for the advice. My food expectations are being lowered!
You are highly likely to get invited to lunch each day when you visit houses - take full advantage and see. In your place I probably would go for a Bekynton house, other things being equal, because the amount of choice (considering it's a canteen, I was seriously impressed the one time I ate there, which was an ordinary day) means that it can't be seriously bad for a vegetarian. The other houses may well vary, not have any choice of vegetarian option, and be hard to judge without actually talking to a vegetarian who lives in the house.
Btw, if a KS is a possibility, don't worry about vegetarianism in College - they have plenty of vegetarians there apparently, and the food is good enough that my formerly somewhat fussy eater seems to have decided "it's all delicious".
If vegetarianism is your DS's choice, that might help him to be reasonably sensible and to accept whatever the veggie offering is, either in-house or at Bekynton Otherwise, I think you are wise to lower your food expectations. Teenage boys are generally hopeless cases, and are perpetually starving, despite being given five - yes, five - meals a day at Eton. I think you would find that everything else about the school would exceed expectations. It certainly has for us!
P.S. The main functions of Bekynton seem to be a) a place to lose folders and musical instruments and b) a place with a roof which can be climbed on, during the night preceding the Fourth of June (aka Speech Day). We are, of course, not allowed to know this, and I am glad I didn't until after the event.
I have no idea about food at Eton, but as a veggie I’d say he could have a little stash with him. I sometimes do that when I go on holiday to places where it’s likely to be the main course minus the meat. I hope you won’t need to resort to that, though
” . . . I’m hopeful that Eton will be better but I imagine that Bekynton, catering for lots of boys, will do a better job for vegetarians than a house where there may be only two or three boys who don’t eat meat. Is this true though?”
This is generally true. Bekynton prepares food for half the entire school plus some masters and visitors. Sometimes some VIP’s visit the school and Eton honour their visit(s) by entertaining them at College Hall where collegers normally dine and on such occasions where there are VIP visitors, collegers are respectfully requested to use Bekynton instead.
So, on a normal day, Bekynton prepares meals for between 800 and 900 people and on exceptional days for anything over 1000 people. You can be quite certain with such a large client list there will be something for vegetarians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews etc. from the school. Please rest assured the chefs that work in Bekynton and in some houses (College) are usually award winners and some of the best in their field – like in everything Eton does! If you’re anywhere within 100 metres from Bekynton at around lunchtime on a normal school term, you’ll experience the glorious smell of food emitting from the restaurant.
This video on YouTube that I posted some four years ago may be of interest to you.
According to my eating-in son, there isn't much choice at their formal lunches but equally, the mother of one of his friends said that their hosue was very helpful when their son turned vegan, so hard to draw conclusions. I'd have thought Bekynton a safer option.
I suspect that Petrebas may be influenced by having had a son in college which has notoriously great food (with a higher budget that other houses)
And yes, my son has eaten more pizza and other junk in his year at E than in his previous life in total
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