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'I'd rather go camping' - nine year old blogger turns down top restaurant trip

Jun 25 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

2/10 - the health rating Martha gave this school dinnerShe's had worldwide support, letters from Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc - and now an invitation to dinner at top Danish restaurant Noma.

But nine year old Argyll-based school dinner blogger Martha Payne has said no thanks to the trip, because her family has booked a camping holiday in Blackpool.

Martha started writing a school blog called NeverSeconds, with daily pictures of her unappetising-looking school lunches, which went viral last month with over five million visitors from around the world. She was also using the blog to raise money for a charity, Mary’s Meals, which helps feed children in Malawi – and so far has raised over £100,000. A school kitchen in Malawi will now be built and named after the blog.

Chefs at Noma, the exclusive Copenhagen double Michelin-starred restaurant which has been voted the best in the world for the past three years, got in touch last week to offer her an all-expenses paid trip to have dinner there and take part in a food conference with the world’s top chefs. Martha, however, has said: ‘I’d rather go camping.’

Her dad Dave said: ‘She just didn’t want to miss out on our camping trip because it had been planned for so long. We’re going with friends to the north-west of England and the kids want to visit Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

‘The restaurant were really keen on Martha going over to speak for 10 minutes about her blog as part of the conference. I love cooking so I was quite tempted as it’s not every day you get the chance to eat at the world’s finest restaurant.

‘We’re so proud of Martha not wanting to let anyone down. But she just said, “I’d rather go camping, dad.”’

Martha started her blog on 30 April, taking pictures of her daily school lunch, with each meal given a ‘food-o-meter’ and health rating. It was banned just after a month by Argyll and Bute council but reinstated after protests online and tweets of support from Jamie Oliver and Scotland’s education secretary Mike Russell among others. Total donations to the Mary’s Meals charity jumped from £2000 to £100,000 when news of the ban broke.