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NOVEMBER 2013 EDUCATERING

SPECIFICALLY CATERING TO THE SCHOOL MEALS MARKET

NOVEMBER 2013

r o f e m Ti n o i t c e l f e r EO of Former C d ren’s Foo the Child , Hargadon y d u J t, s Tru tics and talks poli od with school fo ton Jane Ren

THE RESULTS FOR

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Editor November 2013 CEO:

Alan Dewberry Twitter account: @DewberryAlan MANAGING DIRECTOR:

#EDUawards

Jamie Robbins EDITORIAL DIRECTOR:

Jane Renton DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR – FOODSERVICE:

Dan Hillman 07833 248788 dan@h2opublishing.co.uk Twitter account: @hillmandan BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR:

Marc Sumner 07730 217747 marc@h2opublishing.co.uk Twitter account: @sumner_marc EDITOR:

Morag Lyall 0845 500 6008 morag@h2opublishing.co.uk Twitter account: @moorag DESIGN:

Kim Browne, Kyle Sansbury, Andrew Linden PRODUCTION:

Raman Kaur Goraya BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER:

Rob Molinari 0845 500 6008 rob@h2opublishing.co.uk BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER:

Jason Vencatasen 0845 500 6008 jason@h2opublishing.co.uk Twitter account: @vencatasen007 CONTRIBUTORS:

Pat Fellows, Karen Fewell, Andrew Mickel Arnold Fewell, Sarah Welsh, Georgina Terry TWITTER:

@EDUcateringMag PRINTED BY:

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Apex House, London Road, Northfleet DA11 9PD Tel: 0845 500 6008 Fax: 0845 500 6009 No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publishers

The paper used within this publication has been sourced from Chainof-Custody certified manufacturers, operating within international environmental standards, to ensure sustainable sourcing of the raw materials, sustainable production and to minimise our carbon footprint.

ast year we launched the hashtag #EDUawards so that Twitter users could follow all of the action from the EDUcatering Excellence Awards, whether they were guests on the night or not. We had a Twitter Wall in the room with a live feed of everyone’s comments about the night – revealing the winners as they were announced so that no one was missing out. It was such a huge success that we brought the Twitter Wall back to the Royal Garden Hotel for the 2013 awards, which were held on Monday 14th October. We had a huge number of people using the #EDUawards hashtag, both in the room and from people who couldn’t attend on the night. What was also great about the hashtag was it built up excitement in the run-up to the evening. People getting the train to London in the morning were tweeting their whereabouts; nominees were nervously tweeting about being up for an award and as the event drew closer, school caterers across the capital were tweeting about their outfits (myself included!). Digital Blonde gives a full run down of the stats on page 93, but a night such as the #EDUawards shows just how involved the school food community is online. It is a great way to communicate with each other and show support for all of the hard work being done up and down the country. This was clearly shown in the days after the awards as tweets of congratulations flooded in to the various winners. As for our winners, you can remind yourself of the 16 lucky individuals and organisations to walk away with an EDUcatering Excellence Award from page 28. Elsewhere this month we’ve got an interview with Judy Hargadon, former chief executive of the Children’s Food Trust. She sits down with Jane Renton on page 16 to look back at her time at the Trust and the challenges of sustaining its good work during the political upheaval of the quangos. Meanwhile I visited Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe to learn more about what it is like to provide the catering in a state-maintained boarding school. Read my interview with Nigel Simmonds, chef manager for Connect Catering, on page 62. If you have a story to share about your catering provision, please get in touch! I would love to hear about your experiences.

“We had a huge number of people using the #EDUawards hashtag”

Morag Lyall Editor

July 2012 to June 2013 Avg Net Circulation 4,604

November 2013

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Contents November 2013

05

20

Industry News

The Soil Association Conference How the Food for Life Partnership is helping schools

12

EDUcatering Toolkit Get free materials for a Chinese New Year theme day

24

Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum Seminar What is the future of school food?

28

The EDUcatering Excellence Awards 2013 All of the results from this year’s awards ceremony

16

The Big Interview Judy Hargadon

62

State boarding catering Royal Grammar School

Review Tips on microwave cooking

67

Report Soft drinks, juices and smoothies

73

Focus Wraps

82

Focus Counters and food displays

86

88

Profile Dairy

92

Opinion How to keep costs at bay

93

Digital Blonde #EDUawards Twitter reach

98

Industry Insider

November 2013

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News Round

Employers at the HIT Traineeships launch with chef Jason Atherton

HIT launches new programme for 1623-year-olds HIT, the hospitality apprenticeship provider, has unveiled its new Traineeship Programme for young people. The programme, which aims to give 16 to 23-year-olds a step up onto the apprenticeship and employment ladder, combines work preparation and employment skills, functional skills in Maths and English with specific industry training, and valuable ‘on the job’ practical work experience. It has been created in response to the government’s new traineeship initiative, which has been introduced following employer feedback that many young people lack the basic skills for employment. Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT, said: “Traineeships are part of the same family as apprenticeships, but they are

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aimed at those young people who are having difficulty getting into work because they don’t have sufficient qualifications or any work experience.” In a unique collaboration between learners and hospitality professionals, the entire front of house and kitchen functions at the launch of the programme were staffed by HIT apprentices and their trainer-assessors, and overseen by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. “The great thing about the hospitality industry is that if you can show some passion and flair, you can go far,” commented Atherton. “It’s crucial that young people are given the opportunity to get into this amazing industry. Traineeships like this enable people like me to take young people into the kitchen and give them a chance to grow.”

Pupils get cracking start to cookery

47% Of Brits regularly skip breakfast during the week, according to the HGCA

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Of consumers will be more value conscious when eating out in 2020, according to Allegra Strategies and the FCSI’s Taste of the Future report

Howard Helmer makes an omelette

Hundreds of children across the UK learned how to cook with eggs as part of the British Egg Week Eggspress roadshow during the week of 30th September to 6th October. Pupils in schools in Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and Southampton learned about how quick and

easy it is to cook with eggs when Howard Helmer, the world’s fastest omelette maker, joined The Kids Cookery School charity and British Lion egg producers to give a series of interactive educational sessions on eggs. Children learned how to cook a speedy pizza omelette and answered a fun egg quiz.

November 2013

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News Round Brookwood’s expansion plans ‘ahead of schedule’ The Brookwood Partnership has announced that it is ahead of schedule in its plans for contract expansion after securing two foodservice contracts in the north of England. For one of the contracts it will begin supplying three meals a day to 420 day and

Harrison Catering Services is presented with the gold Catering Mark

boarding pupils at Giggleswick, an

Gold for Harrison Catering

independent school

Harrison Catering Services has achieved its very first gold Food for Life Partnership (FFLP) Catering Mark. It has achieved the top accreditation from the Soil Association’s scheme at The Urswick School in Hackney, where all 750 pupils aged seven to 11 also receive a free school meal. “We’ve always been committed to serving fantastic food made from responsibly and locally-sourced, fresh ingredients,” explained Gareth Harrison, joint managing director at Harrison Catering Services. “At The Urswick School,

Yorkshire Dales.

we have a true partner in headteacher Richard Brown, whose commitment to feeding pupils healthier meals matches our own. We’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised with our first gold Food for Life Catering Mark.” It is not the only Catering Mark for the contract caterer. It has gained the bronze for all 264 schools it serves in the London Boroughs of Bexley, Ealing, Lambeth, Wandsworth and Southwark, representing nearly one-third of all London schools whose catering is approved by the FFLP.

in the market town of Settle in the Commenting on the contract gain, Sue Parfett, managing partner at Brookwood, stated: “We are very excited at the prospect of making a real difference to the catering at Giggleswick. We were up against some strong competition for the contract but

Schools get a share of £1.6m in loyalty scheme More than 16,000 schools have benefitted from a share of £1.6m as part of a loyalty scheme by buying organisation YPO. Each year, YPO gives back a portion of its profits to its public sector customers through the Share of Profits Loyalty Scheme. How much they receive is based on the amount they spend with

and other recent contracts, we are fast becoming a major player across the region.” Part of the

YPO in a calendar year. “At a time when schools are experiencing increased financial pressures, I am pleased that, through the loyalty scheme, we continue to deliver added value to our customers,” said Simon Hill, managing director of YPO. Since launching in 2011, the loyalty scheme has handed out over £5.4m to its customers.

November 2013

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in gaining this

independent school caterer’s success has been down to acquiring Graysons Restaurants in May, which resulted in Brookwood becoming a national caterer with 171 sites and an employee base of 1,300 people.

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News Round

Graduation celebration at Kendal College

Ben Champkin picks up his award

Aspiring talent recognised at TNCOTY competitions Ben Champkin, from the Elephant Restaurant in Torquay, was crowned this year’s Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year at the Restaurant Show on 8th October in London’s Earls Court. He was one of just eight young chefs to compete in the live final, including school chef Louisa May Matthews, chef de partie at Eton College, in front of a judging panel. “It was a challenge deciding on a winner from such a strong group of young chefs,” said David Mulcahy, the competition organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs. “All the finalists proved their ability to compete at this level and I am sure will go on to enjoy success in their careers.”

The format of this year’s competition, in partnership with Knorr, was revised to open up to more young chefs across the UK. Open to chefs aged 18-23 years, four chefs were chosen to automatically go through to the final, with the remaining four places fought for in a series of semi finals by winners from other industry competitions. Hayden Groves, executive chef at BaxterStorey, was named The National Chef of the Year (TNCOTY) on the same day, beating seven other finalists to claim the most prestigious award in the industry. “By becoming The National Chef of the Year, he is definitely one to watch,” said Philip Howard, chairman of the judges and owner of The Square restaurant.

Ten LACA catering managers and seven TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation) members enjoyed a delicious celebration dinner on 17th October to mark their progress in a Level 4 Diploma in Hotel and Tourism Management from the Institute of Hospitality. The diploma is a collaboration between LACA, TUCO, Kendal College and the Institute of Hospitality and has been a great success. It has also seen generous support from the Savoy Educational Trust, which has enabled the LACA students to take the course. While the group are yet to complete their qualification, the dinner was held by the college to reward and recognise their achievements. They were served by catering students from Kendal College. Speaking earlier this year about the collaboration, Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, said: “This successful training and development partnership between LACA, TUCO, Kendal College and the Institute is having very positive results year after year. The Institute of Hospitality’s Diplomas are specially designed to be flexible and accessible to those with busy working lives. We are delighted to see more and more public sector catering managers benefiting from these courses.”

Hospitality members raise £40k in cycle challenge Some of the hospitality industry’s top members have raised almost £40,000 for the charity Hospitality Action in a gruelling cycle ride. The team of 21 cyclists took part in the second London to Paris Cycle Challenge and more sponsorship money is expected to come in over the coming weeks. Participants included Ashley Palmer-Watts, head of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and Andrew Stembridge, managing director of Chewton Glen and Cliveden House and winner of the Hotelier of the Year 2010 Catey award. Commenting after the event, William Baxter, chairman of Hospitality Action, said:

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“We cyclists were tested to the limit mentally and physically, but with an unflinching team spirit we carried on. “The commitment and dedication of the team to complete this incredibly tough challenge and raise an outstanding amount of money for our industry charity is truly amazing and I was very proud to be a part of it.” Funds raised from the cycle challenge will help people in crisis who work in the hospitality industry. Last year, the charity helped 82 people with a Top-Up Grant, 55 people with a Crisis Grant and 463 people with an Essential Needs Grant.

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Photo by Paul Brock

News Round

Southwark schoolchildren sell their produce

Schoolchildren turn their hand to market trading A group of children from 12 schools in London’s Southwark have recently had a go at selling their own fruit and vegetable produce in Borough Market. The young traders took part in the Harvest Sale initiative, a partnership between Borough Market, the charity School Food Matters and funding from United St Saviour’s Charity. The school pupils planted seeds earlier in the summer with the help of Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, before selling bumper crops of squash, herbs, apples, beetroot and chard at market. As well as teaching skills in maths, business and entrepreneurship, the scheme aims to

educate children about where their food comes from and how it is grown. “We are hugely grateful to Borough Market and United St Saviours Charity for inviting us back to Borough this year so that even more local children can experience the joys of growing and harvesting fresh autumn veg,” said Stephanie Wood, founder and director of School Food Matters. “This is food education at its very best!” Proceeds from the children’s vegetable sales will be donated to Walworth Garden Farm. Five pupils from each school have visited the charity to see where how the money raised will be put to use.

Healthier menus for Hertfordshire infants More than 70 early years providers in Hertfordshire are now offering healthier meals after it became one of the first counties in England to use new national guidelines on healthy food and drink for children under five. The nurseries, children’s centres and childminders adapted their menus after taking part in the Eat Better, Start Better programme from the Children’s Food Trust. It aims to support healthier food provision in early years settings and in families with young children aged between one and five years by improving the cooking knowledge, skills and confidence of early years and health

practitioners and parents. A report of the pilot in Hertfordshire found that overall, food and drink within early years settings became healthier, more balanced and nutritious. “Parents in Hertfordshire should be really encouraged that childcare providers in the area are working really hard to give children great food and to help them build good habits, setting them up for a lifetime of enjoying healthy eating and cooking,” said Dr Patricia Mucavele, leader of the Eat Better, Start Better programme. Among the changes, more settings provided a portion of fruit or vegetables with breakfast and more provided oily fish and vegetarian options at lunch and tea.

November 2013

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News Round

75% London boroughs serving Catering Mark meals Almost three-quarters of London boroughs are serving bronze, silver or gold Catering Mark meals, a new report has revealed. The third Good Food for London report from the London Food Link, a network of people and organisations working to promote healthy and sustainable food for London, found that 24 of the 33 boroughs of London now serve over 250,000 meals which meet the Food for Life Partnership’s strict standards on fresh, sustainable and health food. The last report published in 2011 showed that 17 boroughs had the Catering Mark. “This report is a fantastic indication of the steady progression towards a good food culture in London,” said Claire Everett, Food for Life commissioning manager for London. “These 24 boroughs are well placed to further build on their great work, through the Food for Life Partnership an additional step towards normalising good food culture in their schools.” Merton and Islington boroughs were found to be leaders on good food, while Hillingdon and Lewisham were recognised by the report for having made the most progress in supporting good food initiatives, such as community food growing, local sourcing and purchasing Fairtrade products.

Westminster Kingsway wins Asian cook-off Westminster Kingsway College has won the first ever Asian Junior Chefs Challenge. Organised by the Master Chefs of Great Britain and the brainchild of chef Cyrus Todiwala, the competition is designed to raise awareness and interest in Asian cuisine among homegrown chefs. The team beat University College Birmingham and University of West London to the title in a closely fought out final. The teams of three student chefs were required to cook a four-course Pan-Asian dinner and give a 10-minute oral presentation to demonstrate their knowledge of Asian cuisine. Westminster’s prize is a 10-day culinary tour through India. The award was announced during a four-course dinner prepared by Cyrus at the Hilton T5 for 200 guests.

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The TUCO board

TUCO relaunches at House of Commons event Members of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) gathered at the Terrace Pavilion in Westminster on 9th October to hear about a new brand positioning, magazine and strategic direction for the future. The event also coincided with TUCO’s 50th anniversary. Some of the country’s leading higher education catering professionals, vice chancellors and many of the UK’s universities and trade associations were in attendance at the event. “TUCO exists for, and because of, its

members and suppliers and it has always been our mission to ensure that they are able to share, learn, buy and grow effectively thanks to our support, which has seen them achieve considerable achievements over the years – with members competing on a national scale alongside representatives from the country’s leading hospitality establishments,” said TUCO chair Julie Barker. Guests also heard from Professor David Foskett, head of the London School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure at the University of West London.

November 2013

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News Round

Gate Ventures teams up with Suffolk caterer British produce top trend in 2020, report predicts British-sourced food will increasingly determine where consumers eat out of home, according to a new report. Taste of the Future 2020, a new report from the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) UK & Ireland and Allegra Strategies, forecasts the key issues and consumer trends that will affect the foodservice and hospitality industry by 2020. It found that 69% of the 100plus foodservice consultants and senior executives interviewed believe British produce will be a determining factor when eating out. The report aims to predict key trends so that caterers can prepare well in advance for changing attitudes. For example, it showed that while today’s top five food choices are Italian, burgers, Indian, Chinese and fried chicken, by 2020 this will have changed to healthy eating, south-east Asian food, British, premium chicken and global fusion categories. Encouragingly, healthy eating is believed to lead the long-term consumer trends impacting the UK foodservice industry, with 46% of executives citing this. “Over the next seven years we will see a reshaping of the market with the frequency of eating out becoming significantly higher, new areas of demand including greater emphasis on healthier eating and new, global cuisines,” commented Niccola Boyd-Stevenson, chairman of the FCSI UK & Ireland. However, she warned that caterers and suppliers will face ‘substantial challenges’ owing to greater market consolidation, higher food prices and skills shortages.

Food delivery company Gate Ventures has formed a partnership with East Anglia Taste for Schools (EATS), delivering around 300,000 school meals every year in Suffolk. The company already delivers over 3.6m school meals in the UK every year and this new contract opens up new opportunities for Gate Ventures beyond the South of England and the Midlands. It comes after a successful trial of the system in key areas throughout Suffolk over the past year, delivering meals from dining centres in the region to schools without kitchens. Graham Freer, commercial manager for catering at EATS, commented: “Following time trials of all the school delivery routes and amending where necessary for maximum efficiency, we are pleased to have agreed a partnership with Gate Ventures that will ensure that schools without kitchens in our region will continue to have freshly cooked, delicious meals.” EATS, which is part of Eastern Facilities Management Solutions Ltd, provides freshly cooked school meals for 97% of schools in Suffolk.

November 2013

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Case Study

EDUCATERING TOOLKIT

Celebrate

CHINESE NEW YEAR! Chinese New Year is one of the most popular promotions among school caterers

Run a Chinese New Year Quiz > What is the name for the Chinese God of Food? > How big is a Year Paint? > What do they sell on a Chinese pop-up market on New Year’s Day? > What dates in January are the Small Year? > What do you put in Red Packets? > Tie breaker – How many people live in China? All the answers are in this article and the answer to the tiebreaker can be found in the EDUcatering Toolkit at www.educateringtoolkit.co.uk.

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he next Chinese New Year takes place on 31st January 2014. It is the year of the Horse and is hugely popular in school canteens as it is easy to do, the food is popular with both primary and secondary school pupils, and it can be linked to the whole school. The EDUcatering Toolkit has a range of support material that will help you increase awareness of your events and increase meal numbers. The other benefit is a Chinese theme day can be run throughout the year! The beginning of Chinese New Year is shrouded in mystery, tales and legends. It is thought that it started with a fight against a large, mythical beast called the Year, which looks like

an ox with a lion’s head and lives in the sea. On the night of New Year’s Eve the beast will come out to harm people, animals, and properties. As time progressed it was thought that the Year was afraid of the colour red, fire, and loud noises. This is why people formed the habit of posting red Dui Lian (hanging scrolls with couplets on them) in front of their house, launching fireworks, and handing Chinese lanterns out at the year’s end, as a form of self protection from the beast. There are other traditions that take place: Shou Sui – After the New Year’s Eve dinner, a family member will usually stay up during the night so they are ready to fight off the Year.

Red Packets – These are red envelopes contained with money and they range from one to a few thousand Chinese Yuan. Usually the red packet is given by adults to young children on New Year’s Day. It is believed that this money will stop evil reaching the children and keep them healthy and able to live longer. New Year Markets – On New Year’s Day a pop-up market will sell New Year goods such as clothing, fireworks, decorations, food, and small artworks. The market is usually decorated with lanterns. Small Year – This is the 23rd or th 24 of the last month of the year. In 2014 this will be January, when the food god will leave the family to go to heaven to report on the activity of the family to the Emperor of Heaven. Cleaning – This is a very busy time when houses are cleaned, fences

November 2013

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EDUCATERING TOOLKIT

Case Study

EDUCATERING TOOLKIT

What’s in the EDUcatering Toolkit? IN THE TOOLKIT FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR YOU WILL FIND: An open belly poster for secondary schools An open belly poster for primary schools A copy of this article A Chinese New Year quiz An assembly for primary schools

mended, debts are paid, and the colour red, representing wealth and happiness, features prominently in clothing and decorations placed around the house. Decoration – After cleaning, the house is decorated to welcome in the New Year. The most popular New Year decorations are upside down fu (the Chinese character for luck), dui lian, lanterns, year paint and paper cutting. CELEBRATING CHINESE NEW YEAR IN SCHOOL

Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to dress up the dining room and get pupils involved in making decorations, such as: Upside Down Fu – The most popular Chinese New Year crafts. Fu means luck, happiness, and prosperity, while being upside down means it is coming. So this craft means luck, happiness, and prosperity is coming. Usually ‘Fu’ is written on a diamond-shaped paper with red background. Dui Lian – children can be

encouraged to research these online, find out what they mean and recreate them to hang on the doors of the dining room. Paper cutting – This is a piece of art that is cut from red paper. The most popular subjects are animals, humans, flowers, or the Chinese character ‘Xi’, meaning happiness. Most paper cuttings are stuck on windows. Design and make a Chinese lantern – These are usually decorated with a red paper shell. Some lanterns have candles inside, but most are just made of red paper for decoration purpose only. Year Paint – This is a large hand drawn painting. The most popular subjects in the painting are mountains, tigers, a long living god and children. Each class could create pictures of one part of the painting and then they could be added together as a mosaic in the centre of the dining room, or they could be used as placemats. Red packets – You could get pupils to make their own red packets and give to their friends.

Visit www.EDUcateringToolkit.co.uk to access, personalise and download free marketing material

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FOOD

Profile

Desert island dishes Each month we ask the great and the good of the school catering world: if you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which favourite eight dishes would you choose to have with you – assuming of course that you had a kitchen and inexhaustible supply of ingredients? LINDA CREGAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CHILDREN’S FOOD TRUST 1. Roast lamb dinner Sunday was always family time when I was young – I still can’t cook a roast as good as my mum. 2. Homemade rice pudding with jam This is a speciality of my granddad’s that cannot be beaten. 3. Salmon fillet with hollandaise sauce, jersey royal potatoes and extra fine green beans Try it. It needs no explanation.

4. Chicken skewers served with flavoured rice, tomato and basil salad and dips This is my easy-to-throw-together dish when friends turn up unexpected. 5. Stir fry Ideal for those really late evenings home from work. It is also a nice alternative to making do with a takeaway. 6. Rhubarb crumble and custard Rhubarb was the only thing my dad managed to grow when we were young and crumble was the only thing he knew how to cook!

7. Mixed seafood linguine I first sampled this on my honeymoon in Lake Garda and it was probably the most delicious thing I have ever eaten!

“Rhubarb was the only thing my dad managed to grow when we were young and crumble was the only thing he knew how to cook!”

8. Hot chocolate fudge cake with ice cream Because every girl needs a treat! If you were only allowed one dish, which would you choose? Roast lamb dinner because it would keep a bit of home with me on the island. You’re also allowed one luxury item. What would it be? My lip balm. It’s the one thing I cannot live without. What book would you take with you, knowing you already had a religious text of your choice and the complete works of Shakespeare? Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This is an amazing and heartbreaking story of friendship that everyone should read.

November 2013

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The Big Interview

JUDY HARGADON, FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE CHILDREN’S FOOD TRUST

Lost

Legacy Judy Hargadon spent seven years running the School Food Trust – now the Children’s Food Trust – only to see some of its most valuable work axed by political expediency. Six months on she shares her reflections with Jane Renton “I think Henry and John have done a brilliant job – I have all the time in the world for them” Judy Hargadon, former chief executive of the Children’s Food Trust

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udy Hargadon is not a woman given to sour grapes. One senior clinician who knew her from her days as an NHS manager describes her as “a tough woman, who despite her bureaucratic background can always be relied upon to do the right thing even on the most difficult day”. When asked about the School Food Plan, she says the report’s authors John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, on whose expert panel she sat as an adviser, have been extremely impressive and skilful in not only securing crucial buy-in from the coalition government, but from the wider school food industry as well. “I think Henry and John have done a brilliant job – I have all the time in the world

November 2013

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JUDY HARGADON, FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE CHILDREN’S FOOD TRUST

for them. They really listened, took their time and understood it all. And I couldn’t be more happy about the new free school meals announcement,” she says. Many of their conclusions and recommendations, however, I tell her, were the very same ones being pursued by the School Food Trust (SFT), albeit with some variations in detail and significantly strong backing from the current secretary of state for education, Michael Gove. However, when the School Food Plan quotes 43% uptake in school meals nationally, it is based on obsolete figures. The last two surveys on school meal take up were voluntary for local authorities and it took great persuasion skills from Judy’s staff to get as high a return as they did. But the annual survey was completely dropped by the government in 2012, which means we actually do not know what the level of uptake currently is other than a guesstimate based on historic SFT data. Couldn’t Hargadon be justified in feeling just a little bit miffed with the way the wheel has had to be reinvented?

If she harbours any grudge, it is not one against the authors of the School Food Plan, but rather against the existing system of political patronage. Put not your faith in princes – or rather in governments – seems to be an apt adage. All too often they seize upon initiatives only to lose interest when ministers or governments have moved on to other matters or departments, or have been kicked from office. And in this particular case, let’s not forget, children and their diets, indeed their futures, are at stake. What could be more important than that? When political change happens, all the expertise of organisations such as the SFT and all the support and know-how they have gathered at the grassroots are in danger of being discarded and ultimately lost. It was this very

The Big Interview

“The nutritional standards allowed for a lot of flexibility”

doomsday scenario, however, that Hargadon, an astute public servant who spent much of her time in the NHS as a senior manager and a trust chief executive, had long anticipated. “A lot of what we were doing when the new government came in was lost and will now have to be reinstated,” she says. The SFT had already decided to acquire charitable status as far back, in fact, as 2006. It was something that would help safeguard the organisation’s existence after the government decided to abolish 100 or so quangos (non-departmental government bodies). That meant the organisation was able to pursue alternative sources of funding, such as from The Health Lottery, which enabled the organisation to run cookery classes in some of Britain’s most deprived areas. This foresight ultimately enabled the organisation not only to survive the governmental spending axe, albeit in a much smaller form, but to secure its long-term independence. But de-quangoing was a pretty demanding job, and in fact only about five such non-departmental public bodies managed to survive the process. Staff, including many of the former communications team, had to be shed, and for legal requirements a new board had to be instituted. As a public body, the SFT wasn’t allowed to hold any reserves, adding another tribulation to transitioning to the private sector. “It was extremely challenging,” says Hargadon. “That was why in the end so very few public bodies were actually spun off.” By refusing to take things personally, however, and maintaining friendly links with the Department for Education, the SFT – now re-named as the Children’s Food Trust (CFT) – managed to survive against the odds. In some ways the process was beneficial; it made the CFT more sustainable. The organisation still undertakes paid work for the government on aspects of children’s food, but can be more forceful in expressing its wider beliefs and freer in its choice of partners. “I think the Children’s Food Trust is pretty secure now,” Hargadon remarks. “It has good, long-term grant agreements with a range of organisations and with the renewed focus on school food from government, should be in a good position to bid for some work.”

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The Big Interview

But the government’s dismantling of the School Food Trust’s budgets involved the loss of some very important work, such as its role in collating and assessing national research on school food uptake. If Hargadon is upset, it is over this particular issue. It is crucial, she says, that those national indicators are preserved. Without them we cannot properly assess how successful the interventions to improve school meal nutrition and provision now currently underway really are, especially the ones involving millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. “The annual survey, and the consistent measurement system, both set up by us, were very, very important,” she says. “We could compare everyone. We could see what people were doing and most importantly show them similar schools or local authorities who were doing better than them. This kind of peer comparison is an essential lever for improvement.” One of the problems encountered when Jamie Oliver first started his campaign to improve school food was that no-one really knew what was going on regarding take-up in the country. “We discovered that everyone who was running surveys in this area were doing things very differently, so it was impossible to compare one school with another, let alone one authority with another, whether privately run or contracted out,” explains Hargadon.

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JUDY HARGADON, FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE CHILDREN’S FOOD TRUST

“A lot of what we were doing when the new government came in was lost and will now have to be reinstated”

“School lunch take-up was one of the national indicators dropped at the beginning of the new government without thought being given to whether it was the right thing to do.” One of the first things the present government also did on taking power in May 2010 was to freeze its £540m-a-year advertising budget. Only those public campaigns deemed to be ‘essential’ were preserved – and again school food lost out. This was to prove yet another blow to the work of the organisation. With Ofsted no longer being obliged to carry out any school meal inspection, the Trust had depended on its advertising budget to reach and persuade schools and headteachers to place greater emphasis on healthy food and nutritional education and to help them engage parents and pupils with promotional materials. “Marketing and communications were, and still are, essential to helping schools makes those necessary changes,” asserts Hargadon. Finding the best incentives and levers to help schools adopt the right behaviours remains a crucial part of the current Children’s Food Trust’s remit and Hargadon believes that the School Food Plan is totally right to focus on getting buy-in from headteachers, the people who can make positive change happen. But what about the nutritional standards, the very cornerstone of the SFT’s work, that are to be replaced by more simple food-

based standards? This is an issue on which both Vincent and Dimbleby, the School Food Plan architects, have been adamant. They believe that the problem with the current standards is that they are too technical for lay audiences, such as parents or anyone preparing children’s meals in the wider nonschool world, to readily understand. “I don’t think anything is ever written in stone and we always promised to re-visit the standards if needed,” says Hargadon. “I think the School Food Plan is building on work we did for early years.” While the system needs to be easy to understand, any move towards food-based as opposed to nutritional rules will inevitably need to be a lot more prescriptive than is currently the case, she warns. That is what has happened in the United States where a similar food-based approach is in operation in US state-run schools. “The nutritional standards allowed for a lot of flexibility. For example, you need a certain amount of fibre in the diet, but it was up to the providers to address how they were going to do that while having the freedom to design meals that children would actually want to eat,” she explains. “If you just specify a portion of vegetables each day, what’s to stop a provider just dishing out sweetcorn and carrots every day when we know children need green veg as well?” Hargadon believes that whatever debates there will inevitably be over the right way forward, everyone in the school food industry needs to support the School Food Plan: “I hope everyone gets behind it,” she says. Much of the spadework has been done by

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The Big Interview

“The annual survey, and the consistent measurement system, both set up by us, were very, very important”

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organisations such as the SFT, who she says were radical and not always popular, but at least helped steer the industry in the right direction. “People who were once violently opposed to what we were trying to do on the nutritional front have become some of the staunchest defenders of standards,” she says. But she is personally pleased that the CFT, now largely free from government, can be a more collaborative and independent organisation under the leadership of her successor Linda Cregan, previously the organisation’s director of delivery. As for Hargadon – who marked her 60th birthday last year – she has taken some time out to catch up on entertaining, travel, family and home, including her own personal fitness, something she feels she neglected over the past seven years. However, retirement in the old-fashioned sense of the term seems an unlikely option in her case. “I would certainly like to remain involved in some voluntary capacity in the children’s food world,” she says. “Jamie Oliver was very frustrated in the early day of his campaign that we couldn’t solve all the problems associated with school food quickly enough – we persuaded him that it would take 10 years and I am thrilled that we are now back on track. We need to keep on fighting to make children’s food better.”

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Review

SOIL ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE

It starts with the soil

The Food for Life Partnership provided the backdrop for an enthralling debate on providing good food for all at the annual Soil Association conference. Morag Lyall reports 20 EC_NOV13_PG020-022.indd 20

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he annual Soil Association Conference took a slightly different direction this year, focusing on just two key themes of its work across two days of sessions at the Central Hall in Westminster. The first day was almost entirely dedicated to school food and the Food for Life Partnership (FFLP), delivering the message of ‘good food for all’. The change in format meant that many people came to the conference who would not normally have attended. Speakers included Myles Bremner, director of the School Food Plan, who explained the message of the Plan to many people for the first time, and Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for health and wellbeing at the newly-formed Public Health England, who set out the priorities

of the new agency. Delegates heard case studies of implementing the FFLP in schools and local authorities and were encouraged to debate among themselves how food poverty might be brought to an end. Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, opened the conference by showing how the FFLP and its members have contributed to improving the growing ‘elephant in the room’ – food poverty. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the FFLP, a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. It comes as a new partnership with the Royal Society for Public Health and an additional £3.6m of Big Lottery funding to expand the FFLP into care homes, early years settings and workplaces gets under way. More than 20% of schools now have the Catering Mark, she noted, adding: “If we can do this on a city scale, the

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SOIL ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE

impact will be quite something.” Monty Don, president of the Soil Association, used his time on the podium to urge people to go back to basics and remember the reason why schools and communities join the FFLP. “I’m a gardener and a man of the soil and the Soil Association is about the earth,” he said. “It is important that we’re looking at the end product. What matters is looking after our planet.” He went on to say that buying and consuming organic food is a ‘right’, particularly for children and the sick, and blasted the ‘outrageous idea’ that organic is for the middle classes. Indeed, the issue of food poverty was raised among many of the speakers. Myles Bremner, director of the School Food Plan, had the pleasure of introducing the Plan to many people who knew little of it – or at least only from what they had heard in the news. “Universal free school meals and cooking on the curriculum will help

to alleviate food poverty,” he told the audience, although stressed that the £600m of extra funding for universal free school meals and the new policy on their own will not automatically mean that children will eat a school lunch or that they will be able to cook for their families. It is the 16 actions in the Plan that will ‘lead the transformation’, he said. “Headteachers must lead the change and whatever activities we do, it must be seen through the eyes of the child,” Bremner added. “Thirdly, there needs to be a whole school approach to food. I’ve been to some schools with great gardens and the food service has not been up to scratch, and I’ve been to schools with a great food service, but the take up is unsustainable.” One of the concerns of the school meals industry is the transfer of public health responsibilities from the NHS to local authorities and Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for

health and wellbeing at Public Health England, explained the idea behind the new body and its role. “Public health is local,” he said. “Action happens in communities… There is an opportunity through food of addressing associated behaviours like how we act together.” He stressed that there needs to be a ‘level playing field’ for every child, no matter what their circumstances, and believed that the FFLP and School Food Plan “fits with so many of the areas Public Health England will be focusing on”. PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE

More and more schools and local authorities are getting involved with the FFLP, and Lynne McNiven, a consultant in public health at Nottingham City Council, and Mike Sandys, joint director of public health at Leicestershire County Council, gave compelling case studies of how they

have managed to commission the FFLP at scale, while Tom Andrews, associate director of the Sustainable Food Cities initiative at the Soil Association, highlighted the next steps communities can take. “If you want to embed culture change and make it last, you have to involve everyone,” he told delegates. The Sustainable Food Cities Network is a partnership project, led by the Soil Association with Food Matters and Sustain and brings together different organisations across a town or even an entire county to bring about change. One area in which Sustainable Food Cities has been a success is Kirklees. Since introducing the initiative, all 180 schools have been equipped with their own kitchen and 60 have gained a FFLP Catering Mark. There are 40 new growing programmes and physical activity programmes are supported by large companies. “Sustainable Food Cities has

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Review

SOIL ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Helen Browning opens the conference

Mondy Don, president of the Soil Association

Professor Kevin Fenton from Public Health England

Helen Browning talks food poverty

enabled us to have broader discussions across the entire food system,” explained Tony Cooke, assistant director of public health at Kirklees Council, adding that not only are more organisations coming on board, but ‘below the radar’ initiatives such as hospital food are given greater awareness as well. During a panel discussion on the topic ‘could Sustainable Food Cities go UK-wide?’, Councillor Lesley Hinds from the City of Edinburgh Council, stressed: “Food acts as a driver for positive change and provides the opportunitity to engage residents.” However, she said there is a need for wider public support, improved government structure and sharing of best practice for this to happen. Tom Andrews suggested that schools should be at the heart of this culture shift and could be ‘engines of change’ by being a hub for the community to reach every age group.

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THE POWER OF FOOD IN SCHOOLS

The audience was then addressed by a school headteacher, who gave practical evidence to the ideas that had been discussed throughout the morning. Cal Shaw, headteacher at Chestnuts Primary School in London (and EDUcatering Award winner) gave a brief background of her inner-city primary school, which took catering in-house in 2006 and saw an 80% increase in take-up within six months. Wanting to educate pupils about cooking, growing and eating, she got involved with the FFLP. The menus were changed to include 100% fresh produce, of which 40% is organic and pupils take part in a scheme where they sell their produce to parents. Messages of healthy eating are reinforced through a family service and the school has invested heavily in parent cooking classes. “The FFLP unlocked things for me at Chestnuts,” Shaw said. “In two years,

we have had no days lost for exclusion, attainment was above the national average last year and attendance is above average and I believe that food is a massive part of that.” As well as providing healthy, nutritious and sustainable meals at lunchtime, many schools are introducing breakfast clubs to not only boost children’s attention in the mornings, but to provide meals for those children who have not eaten a morning meal due to family circumstances such as low income. “When you think of hunger being a barrier to education, I bet you don’t think of that being an issue in the UK,” said Carmel McConnell, founder of Magic Breakfast. “We are delivering three times as much porridge than we did in October last year.” Her comments were echoed by Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board, who highlighted the other end of the spectrum where

food services for the elderly are on the decline. She said: “There is unbelievable social divide in this country. We need to do something, it is never going to happen from central government.” With these issues in mind, delegates were asked to discuss in groups how food poverty could be a thing of the past. While there were no answers to the question, many of the same barriers were raised during the open dialogue. These were: volatile food costs, wage freezes, social distribution and waste. There was never going to be an answer to ending food poverty in the UK, even from a room full of public health professionals, farmers and campaigners, but the Soil Association conference made great achievements in delivering the message that some of the issues of food poverty and sustainability can start in our schools.

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Focus

WESTMINSTER FOOD AND NUTRITION FORUM SEMINAR

What is the future

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of school food? Some of the most topical issues surrounding school food were on the agenda at the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum seminar, Morag Lyall reports 24

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November 2013

n awful lot has happened in the last year within school food and child nutrition, both good and bad. While we have had the news of the School Food Plan and universal free school meals for infants, there has also been continued strain on family budgets, pushing more children to source food from food banks. Indeed, on the day I write this, yet another energy company has announced it is putting up its prices. Of course, at the other end of the scale, there are rising problems of

childhood obesity. So, what is the school’s role in all of this? On 10th October, Pat Fellows and I headed to the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum’s keynote seminar on the topic ‘The future of school food and children’s nutrition’. Speakers included those on the frontline of school food and public health, and one of the most commonly spoken words of the day was ‘challenges’. It was also a day of warnings, urging all of us to take the recent successes the industry has seen and run with them. As Linda Cregan, chief executive of the Children’s Food Trust, said in her opening remarks: “It has been a while since there has been so much good news on school food policy.”

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COOKING IN SCHOOLS

Commenting on the future implementation of cooking on the National Curriculum from September 2014, Cregan noted that even for schools that do not follow the National Curriculum, it gives a clear message from the government that cooking is important and more schools will, hopefully, take note. This is just one example of how it is now up to schools and linked organisations to build on the success that has been given, but Cregan also highlighted some of the wonderful things that have already been achieved over the past few years, such as the fact that children are eating more healthily at lunchtime. However, she stressed that providing lunch is ‘only half the battle’. “Parents must be actively involved and cooks need support for the changes in legislation,” Cregan said. She also asked the audience whether or not schools are really ready for cookery to be brought back into the curriculum (although she certainly still welcomed the decision). A survey by the Children’s Food Trust found that more than 40% of schools do not have the facilities to offer cookery lessons or are not in a position to do it well. “We need to give them the confidence that they

can,” she said. “There are a wealth of resources out there…but do teachers know where to find it? Are schools doing enough to prepare for this?” On the issue of free school meals for five to seven-year-olds, Cregan claimed that infrastructure was a major barrier to its success and feared that schools would be ‘cobbling plans together’ in July rather than assessing their requirements now. “None of these challenges are insurmountable,” Cregan stressed. “The trick now is to make sure schools have support.” SPREADING POSITIVITY

One form of support is through joint procurement, suggested Anne Bull, national chair of LACA. Her talk on the work of local authorities and procurement practices highlighted the value of being part of a purchasing consortium. She used the example of the South Wales purchasing consortium to show the stringent procurement policies that are in place and the robust and transparent process in which contracts are made. Meanwhile, school food standards, which should be in place by September 2014, was the topic of conversation for Malcom Clark,

co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign at Sustain. He echoed the thoughts of many people in the industry that more academies should be required to meet the new standards, but said that when they are implemented they should have the trust of schools, parents and caterers in order to be a success. Neil Fuller, managing director of contract caterer Caterlink, added to the call for taking a positive attitude to the School Food Plan and called on all parties to convert the schools that are not engaged to embrace the Plan. “We acknowledge that there are lots of priorities and targets for headteachers,” he noted, highlighting his own experiences of school engagement. “When we have a dialogue with schools about our programmes such as gardening clubs, some schools are more willing than others and it is often the same schools that come forward.” HEALTHY EATING AND A COMMUNITY APPROACH

While much of the first session of the seminar was dedicated to regulations and implementing the School Food Plan, the second session was focused around how to encourage children and their parents to eat more healthily.

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WESTMINSTER FOOD AND NUTRITION FORUM SEMINAR

delivering other areas of the curriculum in a fun and interactive way. However, in what he called the ‘cupcake problem’, Owen called for greater training on delivering a good food programme that teaches useful cooking skills to equip pupils for life, and not just baking lessons. THE HEAD’S VIEW

The session was opened by Joanna Lewis, head of policy at the Food for Life Partnership, who suggested that children can develop a healthy attitude towards food, particularly when cooking. However, she claimed that the children’s food served in high street restaurant chains is ‘undermining the work of schools’ in delivering healthy food messages. Lewis also noted how farm links can have a huge effect on teaching children where their food comes from and this was confirmed by Claire Rosling, a community engagement worker at The Community Farm, a member-owned farm in Bristol, which aims to reconnect people with the food they eat. “The School Food Plan only had a couple of mentions about kids growing food,” she said. “But growing is one of the best ways to get kids excited about food.” “We need to start from the root of the problem and develop a holistic approach to food and nutrition,” she added, calling on schools to link up with local food producers and take pupils to farms to see first-hand where their food comes from. One the best ways to communicate with teachers, parents and pupils about school food is by having a well-placed individual to champion the industry. Glyn Owen, a class teacher and Healthy Schools champion at Ashton Vale Primary School in Bristol, offered his views on the future of school food. He called for more details about teaching cookery to be made available. “Teachers are not experts in nutrition,” he said, calling for easy-touse lesson ideas and resources, not to mention advice on health and safety requirements or even funding to recruit local experts who would be able to deliver a quality cooking curriculum. Owen was optimistic about the idea of cooking being a requirement in schools, not just in equipping children with a life skill but also

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In many of the sessions the role of the headteacher was raised, so it was important to see Jared Brading, executive headteacher at Sacred Heart RC Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in London, say a few words. While he was certainly one of the already-engaged headteachers the School Food Plan calls upon, Brading was not afraid to tell it like it is. Many schools work towards the Healthy Schools programme, he said, because it is attached to funding and it contributes towards Ofsted. In contrast, his schools have the bronze Catering Mark from the Food for Life Partnership, but it ‘brought no fanfare with it’. Ofsted are not interested, he said, and it ‘passes parents by’. Food must be a part of school culture, Brading remarked. Within his schools there are gardening and cooking lessons, which he believes teaches additional skills such as language skills, sharing and enterprise. Returning to Neil Fuller’s comment that headteachers have many other priorities to deal with in the day-to-day workings of a school, Brading confirmed that as schools are inspected on such narrow areas, it is tempting to narrow the experiences of the child, but that this is something that ultimately nobody wants to do. It was, therefore, appropriate that it was the turn of Myles Bremner, director of the School Food Plan, to take to the stage. One of his three goals of the Plan is to engage the headteacher and the checklist for headteachers draws on key points to improve the school meals service and food culture. He urged delegates to use the Plan as a force for good. “The power of the School Food Plan as a document is to drive positivity

and consensus around the vision of happy and healthy children,” he said. AN UPDATE ON THE SCHOOL FOOD PLAN

The purpose of his session was to clarify some of the most recent issues to have arisen out of the Plan, particularly universal free meals, the 17th action in the document. He explained that David Laws, minister for schools in England, will be responsible for the rollout of universal free school meals for five to seven-year-olds. It is believed that with its introduction, average take-up of school meals will increase to a total of 65%, which includes those outside the scheme. “We can provide free meals, but they will not necessarily be taken up,” Bremner said. He suggested that previous pilot schemes would be important to learn from, as schools can predict take-up and see how councils and schools worked with caterers in providing additional school meals. However, Bremner also raised the issue that where free meals have been piloted, such as Durham, they were in areas where the local authority ‘desperately wanted to introduce the policy’. “Some may initially see it as more of a pain,” he warned. However, Bremner urged those individuals and organisations who are involved in the change to share best practice and learn from each other, stressing that ‘sharing works as a catalyst’ for continued success. Bremner recognised that funding mechanisms will need to reflect the economics of individual schools. One of the issues some schools, particularly those in rural areas, have challenged is the claim in the School Food Plan that a 70% take-up will mean meals can be delivered at just £1.87. Bremner acknowledged the difficulties rural schools will continue to face and he has asked the Department for Education to look carefully at funding for these areas. A recent meeting with David Laws also led to discussions of capital investment in introducing universal free school meals. Many schools are already struggling with ageing equipment,

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as Linda Cregan highlighted, and the scheme will require major funding, possibly greater than the £600m promised by the government. The pilot in Durham, for example, cost £27,000 per school to renovate kitchens and purchase crockery and other items to cope with the additional numbers. However in Newham it cost just £2,500 per school because the council had already invested in their schools. Therefore, Bremner suggested that it should be up to the Department for Education to provide the availability of capex (capital expenditure) through grants or loans. This would be separate to the £600m of investment from the government, which is thought to be for additional costs of delivering the free meals such as hiring more staff and paying higher utility bills. He added that by remaining positive in the belief that delivering infant universal free school meals can be done well is important in order to secure ‘political buy-in for continued investment’. While questions remain about how the implementation of free school meals from September 2014 will work in practice, Bremner

stressed the importance of careful planning. “Success must be defined carefully in advance and monitored robustly,” he said. This was also a key message of Neil Fuller during his earlier session. Fuller has first-hand experience of implementing universal free school meals for primary school pupils in Islington. He explained that before implementing the scheme a lot of groundwork had to be done, starting with a trial of six schools and a detailed analysis of the equipment and capabilities of the team. There were also issues that arose such as registering every pupil to ensure the Pupil Premium was maintained. He therefore highlighted concern for any

quick implementation of universal free school meals in England, saying: “We don’t want to be tainted for something because it hasn’t been thought through.” Both Bremner and Fuller’s closing remark will no doubt be supported by the school meals industry. The coming months will reveal the ‘challenges’ that must be overcome to implement free meals – be it upgrading equipment, extending the dining room, rescheduling lunch breaks or even finding a solution for schools with no meal provision at all – but with careful planning and defining and monitoring a model for success, thousands of children will be able to benefit from a lunchtime meal for free in less than a year’s time. That’s certainly something to remain positive about.

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Special A very

night

w

The EDUcatering Excellence Awards 2013 was a brilliant evening, bringing together all the people who make the school catering industry truly special

hat a year it has been! The EDUcatering Excellence Awards 2013, held on Monday 14th October at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, proved to be a spectacular night, bringing together nearly 400 people from the world of school catering to celebrate all of the wonderful work that is being done. This has been a special year, with some fantastic initiatives from across the industry. Of course, there is one initiative in particular, namely the School Food Plan, that will make real inroads in improving uptake and changing the culture surrounding school meals. It was decided during the judging process that the work of Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent needed special recognition, so we created a Special Award – much to their surprise! The award goes some way to thank Henry and John for what they have done in the past year. While we celebrated two of the newest faces to the industry, we also credited an entire career in school meals with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Beverley Baker, a strong favourite to receive this year’s award. Again, this aims to show just some recognition of all of Beverley’s hard work on a local and national level. There is a full list of all of our 2013 winners over the coming pages. Many congratulations to them and to all of our nominees – the decision-making seems to get harder every year!

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One of my favourite things about the EDUcatering Excellence Awards is our Schools Got Talent competition! We had an unprecedented number of entries this year, with three finalists performing live during the night. First to perform was Hollie Haines, in Year 13 at St Mary’s School, who sang a medley of I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and one of her own compositions. Harrison Hartley, aged just nine from South Parade Primary School, then bravely performed a rendition of Bruno Mars’ When I Was Your Man. Third to the stage was Roslyn Lloyd, in Year 13 at West Hatch High School, who sang a beautiful aria from The Phantom of the Opera. With 60% of the audience vote, Hollie took the 2013 School’s Got Talent title. She later commented: “I was really nervous before the start of the final, but the audience were really warm and welcoming so they immediately put me at my ease so I relaxed into the song and enjoyed myself. I am so happy with the outcome and touched by everyone’s support.” A final word of thanks must go to our guests who dug deep again this year to support the evening’s charity, Mary’s Meals. We managed to raise £3,204 on the night, enough to feed 299 children. Thank you also, as ever, to our wonderful hosts the Royal Garden Hotel, Steve Munkley and his fabulous brigade of chefs. Remember it’s never too early to think about nominating a school caterer for the 2014 #EDUAwards (as they’ve familiarly become known!). Look out for details of how to enter in the coming months. Morag Lyall, editor

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

School’s Got Talent winner Hollie Haines

Dinner in the Palace Suites at the Royal Garden Hotel

Guests gather at the pre-dinner reception

School’s Got Talent finalist Roslyn Lloyd

School’s Got Talent finalist Harrison Hartley

Santé du chef

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby receive the Special Award

Special Award WINNER: John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, School Food Plan This has been an unprecedented period for nutritious lunch is not only important but vital to school meals, so we have taken the step to the wellbeing of our future generation. They have expand outside the norm of the EDUcatering also gained all-party support for this initiative. Awards scheme. Nestlé Professional and H2O They have given up a huge amount of time Publishing put our heads together to find the from their already busy lives. Above all they have best way to give recognition to people that listened to the professional managers and staff have made a lasting contribution to the and have treated us with respect. The School school catering industry Food Plan and its and we both believe the implementation during the “It was a big surprise presentation of an next few years should and a very lovely one. EDUcatering Excellence ensure that school meals Thank you to everyone Special Award was the are here to stay. who decided to give most appropriate way The decision to choose us the award and to for us to show our the winners of this award every positive person appreciation. was made before the leading this local and During the last year, government’s national revolution.” two people’s dedication announcement of free and commitment have meals in England for five made a huge difference to the future of school to seven-year-olds from next September; meals provided in our state schools. They have therefore it is even more appropriate that the managed to convince the government that very first Special Award goes to John Vincent and providing schoolchildren with a properly cooked Henry Dimbleby.

Sponsored by: November 2013

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Beverley Baker receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award WINNER: Beverley Baker, Surrey Commercial Services Beverley Baker has spent all her working life in the education catering industry and has made a huge contribution to school food, not only in her day job but nationally. Having gained a hotel and management degree in the 1970s Beverley commenced her career in local authority catering. Following a break to have a family, she returned to work as part-time marketing manager. She was appointed as head of catering in the late 1980s and since then has developed Surrey Council Council into one of the leading players in our profession. She is a founder member of LACA and has been national chair on two occasions, firstly from 2000 to 2002 and again in 2009 to 2010. She is still a very active member of the board. Beverley represented LACA in 2005 on the School Meals Review Panel that produced the report Turning the Tables - Transforming School Food. In 2006 she was appointed in her own capacity to the first board of the School Food Trust. During all of these years she has continued to work for Surrey County Council.

“I was hugely honoured (and shocked) to receive this award. This is a wonderful industry, full of dedicated professionals, many of whom I count as friends. To be honoured by your peers doing something you love is very special. Anything I have achieved could not have been possible without the support from my wonderful team at Surrey County Council. They are great and I pay tribute to their spirit and dedication. I thank EDUcatering very much for this award.�

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Geoffrey Harrison receives the Contract Caterer of the Year Award

Contract Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Harrison Catering Services NOMINEES: Aspens Services / Cucina Restaurants Harrison Catering Services provides contract catering for over 360 schools across England. This includes 275 schools in the London boroughs of Bexley, Croydon, Ealing, Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth, all of which have a Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark, the largest number of sites ever granted the accreditation in a single award. Teams engage with pupils, teachers, staff and parents to tailor menus that reflect the demographics of each school. This is complemented with marketing efforts such as theme days and workshops to encourage uptake. In June, Harrison declared a Great British Produce Day and served a menu of asparagus and Jersey Royal potatoes to over 39,000 pupils. All Harrison staff receive Eat Well Live Well training in how to prepare and serve healthier food and the company has launched new educational signage for primary pupils depicting the food journey from farm to fork. Many schools receive a breakfast service and after school clubs, while all reception pupils receive a free school meal each year.

“We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. Harrison’s excellent track record within the education sector is built upon our commitment to delivering nutritious meals, engaging with our customers to understand their tastes and preferences, and educating children to help them establish healthy eating habits. It is very gratifying to see the work that we do every day recognised with this award.” Geoffrey Harrison, chairman, Harrison Catering Services

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Christine Leman receives the District Manager of the Year Award

District Manager Of The Year WINNER: Christine Leman, Caterlink NOMINEES: Octavia Cunningham, Aspens Services / Russ Templeman, Edwards & Ward Christine has been with Caterlink for just over and free porridge in winter to encourage healthy a year and supports the operations director in eating. Ahead of the Year 11 exams, Christine overseeing the management of contracts, produced flyers identifying key food groups that service delivery, customer and client would encourage alertness and help pupils to stay satisfaction and bringing in new business. She hydrated. She has helped to grow the business by manages the encouraging schools contracts for 12 to take on Caterlink’s secondary schools hospitality services “I am absolutely thrilled to have and colleges and and introduced a won the District Manager of oversees a team Snack Shack in one the Year Award. It is fantastic of up to 80 school to promote to receive recognition for a members of staff. healthy eating and job I feel passionate about. I Passionate about reduce queues, would like to thank Caterlink healthy eating, leading to a 10% rise for their continuing support and Christine recently in sales. EDUcatering Magazine for a implemented a Christine regularly lovely evening.” healthy smoothie holds training and juice workshops with her workshop, getting team and encourages pupils involved in making smoothies and getting junior members to undertake NVQs. In the last them inspired to recreate them. She also year, she has promoted two members of staff to introduced Free Fruit Fridays during the summer catering managers from within Caterlink.

Sponsored by: November 2013

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Mark Davies receives the Green Award

Green Award WINNER: Mark Davies, ISS Facility Services Education NOMINEES: Mark Cartwright, Cucina Restaurants / Janice Grant and Jean Hughes, London Borough of Islington Ever since ISS Education started working with parents are sent flyers with details of the food the Soil Association’s Food for Life scheme in served on the menu and ‘meet the grower’ stories. 2009, it has been committed to serving fresh, Outside the dining room, ISS has worked with healthy and sustainably sourced meals to schools Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins to engage pupils across the UK. It in the seed to plate now serves Food for process. Chris visited Life Catering Markone school during “We are delighted with this accredited menus National School award. Sustainability and food to 278 schools, Meals Week, and also education are really important including Gold went to schools in elements of school food and ISS meals to the London York and Portsmouth Education are thrilled to have Borough of Merton. to meet the winners been recognised for the work As the borough’s of ISS’ Green we do. We’ve also learnt a lot meal service has Fingers gardening from our friends at the Food for been progressing competitions. ISS Life Partnership, School Food through the Catering has also worked with Matters and Chris Collins.” Mark tiers since the charity School 2008, school meal Food Matters to uptake has risen by 50%. create a plan for a Food Growing Grants Programme Posters in the dining rooms provide pupils with to run in 30 Richmond schools to build or improve information on seasonality and local sourcing, while school gardens.

Sponsored by: November 2013

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Ceri Ward receives the Independent School Caterer of the Year Award

Independent School Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Ceri Ward, RSA Academy NOMINEES: Hayden Hibbert, ACS International Schools Since becoming an academy five years ago, the RSA Academy has built a range of services that provide students, staff and visitors with healthy, varied and nutritious meals. All meals meet nutritional standards and all staff have been trained in NCFE Level 2 for health, diet and nutrition. Ceri offers every student a free breakfast and she has developed a healthy eating policy with the student and parent council, resulting in the school receiving a Healthy Eating gold status. Ceri works with the language department to develop themed menus and with the hospitality department to offer work experience for students. The school even has an apiary on the roof and the catering department will soon start using the honey that is produced from the bees. Through these innovative ideas and an improvement in the quality of the food provision, Ceri has led the school to a meal uptake of 60%, an increase from 34% in 2008.

“It was a great honour to be recognised for this award, not only for myself but also for my catering team who have worked extremely hard in providing a first class catering service to our students and staff here at the RSA Academy; their support has been immeasurable. We are all so proud to have received this award and look forward to next year!�

Sponsored by: November 2013

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

David Melvin, managing director of Cordia Services, receives the Innovation Award

Innovation Award WINNER: Cordia Services – Huts NOMINEES: Innovate – Lunch box pre-ordering service / Connect Catering – Fine dining experience In January 2013, Cordia made significant investment in three new outdoor service points, called Huts, in three Glasgow secondary schools. Work was completed in April when pupils could access a range of snacks and drinks from the Huts. The key aims of the outlets were to encourage uptake, offer a healthier alternative to high street fast food and keep pupils on school grounds during break times. Pupils have also had considerable involvement with the creation of the Huts. Cordia worked closely with the schools in the design, location and name of the Huts, and the school worked with pupils to encourage use and ownership. The Huts now account for 23% of new income in the three schools and are forecast to fully return on the investment within 15 months. Due to increased uptake, more pupils are staying on school grounds during breaks and pupils are enjoying healthier lunches.

“The new outdoor service points we have installed in our secondary schools are just the latest in a long line of initiatives launched by Cordia to introduce a more flexible approach to school catering in Glasgow. We are extremely proud to have won the award for innovation, and to be recognised for the hard work our staff carry out across the city.” Julia McCreadie, head of facilities management, Cordia

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Brad Pearce receives the Local Authority Caterer of the Year Award

Local Authority Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Brad Pearce, Plymouth City Council Education Catering Service NOMINEES: Steve Jones, Wrexham Catering / Marcia Lewis, Caerphilly Catering Services Brad and his team provide 1.5m school meals a pupils taking their free school meal, and the service year. The service is nationally recognised for its strives to improve whole school uptake by making local sourcing and procurement of fresh, local food fun and inviting to eat. Brad works with and seasonal ingredients. It produces over 86% suppliers to hold events and offer samples for pupils, of food from and kitchen scratch every day. managers are “Winning came as a bit of a In 2012, the service encouraged to work surprise but a hugely welcome was the first local closely with parents one! It also comes at a great time authority in the to ensure that any and is a very real recognition country to be special diets can be of the hard work of my whole awarded the gold accommodated by team, as well as the support of Food for Life the service. the Council and, importantly, our Catering Mark and Brad is actively head teachers and schools both Plymouth has now involved with the individually and through the completed its School Food Plan Plymouth Association of Primary investment in and is a founder Headteachers.” developing modern member of kitchens in every Food:Plymouth, school, allowing the service to explore a which sees him working jointly with Plymouth community meals service. University, NHS Plymouth, local producers and Plymouth has seen an increase in the number of suppliers to transform the city’s food culture.

Sponsored by: November 2013

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

David Melvin receives the Marketing Award for Cordia Services

Marketing Award WINNER: Cordia Marketing, Cordia Services NOMINEES: June Bartlett, Sandwell Inspired Partnership Services / Andrea Walton, Aspens Services In September 2012, Cordia launched a campaign to promote school meals entitled Pitch In for a Kitchen. Cordia promised to donate money to Scottish charity Mary’s Meals for every meal bought in a Glasgow Fuel Zone – Cordia’s school dining halls – over a two-day period, with the aim of building a kitchen at a school in Malawi. Marketing materials were created to support the campaign, including fact sheets for parents and a Mary’s Meals DVD. Posters were also displayed in Fuel Zones across Glasgow. In order to engage pupils, a wall display of an empty kitchen was placed on the walls of all Fuel Zone restaurants in Glasgow, and with each meal purchased, pupils would receive a brick sticker to add to the empty kitchen. Wristbands were also handed out to pupils who had bought a school meal.

“During the Mary’s Meals promotion the marketing team worked in close partnership with facilities management operations to identify the best and most original campaign. The marketing and operations team worked tirelessly and our efforts paid off incredibly well, allowing us to put over £10,000 towards building a kitchen at Milonga School in the Thyolo district of Malawi. We are very proud of the work carried out by all of the staff who took part in the campaign and winning this award is an excellent achievement for everyone involved.” David Melvin, managing director, Cordia

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

David Carrack receives the Newcomer of the Year Award

Newcomer Of The Year WINNER: David Carrack, Harrogate Grammar School NOMINEES: Duncan La Roche, Nourish Contract Catering David joined Harrogate Grammar School in August 2012 as executive chef and has led a team of 20 staff through the transition from being a local authority caterer to a cohesive and highly respected in-house team. He has had no previous experience working in schools, but came to Harrogate with the goal to be the best in the country. Through a number of initiatives, including a new menu, hospitality catering, an online shop selling sandwiches, a lunchbox outlet and takeaways for staff, he has seen sales growth of 18% on last year. David has opened a new bistro facility for the sixth form and has secured governor approval to expand and refurbish the school’s kitchen.

“The award means so much to me because the school is striving to be world class. My team and I have worked so hard to achieve amazing things and we are proud of our food offering. Winning this award has put a massive smile on my face and shows that all the hard work has been worthwhile. I now want to use the award to firmly put Harrogate Grammar School catering on the map!”

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Hazel Forrester receives the Primary School Caterer of the Year Award

Primary School Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Hazel Forrester, Godinton Primary School NOMINEES: Susan Watson, Abercarn County Primary School / Janet Slepko, South Wilford Endowed CE Primary School Hazel is a vital member of the team at The dons her apron, t-shirt and pirate’s hat for Contract Dining Company Ltd. As well as every service and she continues the theme of providing a nutritious school the service with a meals service every day, she pirate-themed top table for has this year been working to outstanding students. “I had an amazing transform the servery at Hazel regularly organises fun evening and was Godinton Primary School to days or weeks and she runs a both surprised and make pupils feel excited and programme throughout the delighted to have won. happy while eating their year, inviting parents to lunch, This award means lunch. By closely working sometimes having an additional a lot to me and with the school art 50 mouths to feed. She is everyone involved.” department, a pirate-themed always keen to help with other mural was painted around the events, such as summer fairs, a counter, with the serving dad’s Saturday cookery school, hatch as a port hole. Hazel and quiz nights.

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Tina Snowden receives the Secondary School Caterer of the Year Award

Secondary School Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Tina Snowden, St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School NOMINEES: Ian Mulligan, Chorlton High School / Wayne Garner, Ernulf Academy Tina is a well-respected and supportive of the development team of Catering Academy’s member of her school and catering academy. LIFE marketing scheme to promote seasonal She has been healthy food via an instrumental in incentive scheme, securing a renewed and as a result of her “I cannot describe the five-year contract drive for the amazing sense of pride and for the company in initiative, the school achievement I felt as my name August 2012. has had one of the was called out. I’d like to Through her greatest uptakes thank Catering Academy and relationships with across the campaign. the wider team. The hundreds students, teachers and Modernising the of congratulations we have visitors, St Edmund dining rooms has received from Team Academy Arrowsmith has been helped to reduce members across the country able to provide a queuing times and to has humbled me and I’m bespoke support further improve the thrilled to have won such a service as well as a service. To develop prestigious award.” bespoke food service. the staff, Tina has Nutrition is a enrolled all team passion of Tina’s, and members on an NVQ she runs a very popular create-your-own salad and Level 2, and she has mentored one member to yoghurt bar, while taster days help to encourage become Catering Academy’s Team Member of students to try different foods. Tina has been part the Year.

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Henry Norman, editor of FSM Magazine, picks up the award on Cal’s behalf

Self-Managed Primary School Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Cal Shaw, Chestnuts Primary School NOMINEES: Jordi Casas, St Mary Magdalene Church of England School / Sue Fletcher-White, Colham Manor Primary School Cal believes in the development and enhancement of the community through food and food education. Cooking has stayed on the curriculum at Chestnuts, with every child receiving one session every week. This has also been rolled out to support adults in the community, including sessions on cuisines from around the globe to engage parents from different nationalities. The school has strong farm links and from an early age children are given the opportunity to look after the famous Chestnuts chickens. Their eggs are used in catering for the school, with the remainder sold to parents at the end of each week. Cal recognises that different solutions are required to encourage increased uptake for different age groups. She has therefore developed separate solutions for Key Stage 1 and 2. Meal uptake is now at 82% at KS1 and there has been a 15% increase in the number of KS2 pupils enrolled for lunch from September 2013.

“I am delighted that the good food ethos in place at Chestnuts has been recognised with this award. At Chestnuts we feel very passionately about food and recognise the importance of a balanced, nutritious diet in a child’s education. Healthy eating and an awareness of food choices impacts on every aspect of our life so it is important that we teach children wisely in a well rounded, hands on, informative way.”

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Commercial Presentation

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November 2013

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Hayden Hibbert receives the Self-Managed Secondary School Caterer of the Year Award

Self-Managed Secondary School Caterer Of The Year WINNER: Hayden Hibbert, ACS International Schools NOMINEES: Gill Higgins, The Streetly Academy / Ceri Ward, RSA Academy The key philosophy of the catering department at Hayden has chosen to adopt the scheme’s ACS is to serve fresh and healthy food which nutritional standards, and in an effort to improve reflects and celebrates the globally diverse nature the diets of students he has introduced Free Fruit of its student Fridays while base as an clearly indicating international healthy choices “I am absolutely thrilled to have school. The most on menus. won the Self-Managed Secondary recent Hayden has School Caterer of the Year fundamental also been award and it feels great to be achievement in successful in recognised as an in-house caterer. supporting this promoting the However, this is not just about agenda has been catering service me, it is all about the team at our gaining a silver by building an three ACS schools: ACS Cobham, Food for Life excellent rapport ACS Egham and ACS Hillingdon. Catering Mark. with students Well done to them.” ACS has also and parents, recently been both by re-awarded the prestigious Gold Award from supporting the catering needs of the school’s Surrey County Council as part of the Eat Out, Eat charity events, and by engaging pupils in fun but Well initiative promoting healthy eating. educational activities.

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Morag Lyall, editor of EDUcatering Magazine, picks up Debbie’s award on her behalf

Specialist Manager Of The Year WINNER: Debbie Heard, Cumbria County Council NOMINEES: Mark Johnson, Royal School for the Blind Liverpool As a category manager within Cumbria County Council’s corporate procurement department, Debbie is responsible for all food buying. The category management approach has allowed Debbie to take a wider view and develop the food procurement around her customers’ needs. The result is that aggregation of school food spend with that of other local authority food spend has created economies of scale and kept prices stable, while also generating environmental benefits, including reduced food miles. The Countryside Alliance has identified Cumbria County Council as having one of the highest real spend on British products per annum. This includes 100% of fresh milk on contracts from local Cumbrian farms, all fresh meat on contracts prepared and distributed by local Cumbrian butchers and 100% of cooked meats, salads and sandwich fillings prepared and distributed locally. Debbie’s direct engagement with the supplier base through the Cumbria Local and Fair board has presented opportunities that benefit school children

and enable them to see the product from field to plate. Now, over 57% of Cumbrian schools choose to buy via council contracts.

“I really appreciate the recognition for the work I do with Cumbria County Council. My category team and I work hard to ensure our food supply contracts are not only compliant with regulations, but also offer quality ingredients and products at competitive prices, sourced from a reliable supply base. Our aim is to support our school’s kitchens to prepare nutritionally balanced, good quality meals within budget without the added hassle of negotiating with suppliers.”

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EDUcatering Excellence Awards

Shirley Low receives the Working in Partnership Award

Working In Partnership Award WINNER: Shirley Low, Eden Foodservice NOMINEES: Amy Roberts, Chartwells / Carol Harwood, Hertfordshire Catering Since winning the contract for Brighton and Brighton & Hove School Meals Team, has Hove in September 2011, Eden Foodservice delivered taster days for children, parents has engaged in numerous community and carers to educate on the importance of enterprises and activities to support the healthy eating. vision of the The catering council. To boost company has strong “Winning the Working in engagement of the relationships with Partnership Award is an service, a series of the community, and honour. It was a privilege to road shows were operations manager receive this prestigious award delivered, aimed at Shirley Low runs on behalf of the dedicated sharing the new Catering in Schools Eden Foodservice team approach to school workshops for the within Brighton & Hove and catering across the long-term to celebrate our successful contract. An annual unemployed of partnership with Brighton & cooks’ conference Brighton in Hove City Council.” has also been conjunction with the introduced to local Jobcentre Plus. communicate the coming 12 months’ business This scheme has proven very popular. Jobcentre objectives and celebrate the successes of the Plus now supplements the day with additional last year. courses and three participants are now in Eden Foodservice, in partnership with the employment with Eden.

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UK based manufacturer of bespoke foodservice fabrications. National distributor of all leading foodservice equipment brands. Sole UK & Eire distributor for:

November 2013

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Profile

STATE BOARDING CATERING

The MAGIC touch

s

ocial media can do wonderful things for the foodservice industry. We know this because the loveable Digital Blonde tells us every month how we should be doing more of it. But when I was tweeted a link from a school chef to his blog, The School Kitchen, I couldn’t believe the find I had come across. Nigel Simmonds, the man behind the blog which features photos of the many different dishes he serves pupils and staff, has seen interest in his blog rise from 20 page visits of his first post in October 2012 to over 8,500 individual hits in a year. Not only that, but by tweeting celebrity chefs he has found an audience from the likes of Matt Tebbutt, Monica Galetti, Gregg Wallace, Lorraine Pascale and Rachel Khoo (“My favourite”, he says). “I’ve tweeted them and asked for their thoughts on it,” Nigel explains, modestly noting that they have all given positive feedback. “With the School Food Plan being out, school food is in the spotlight quite a bit at the moment and these people are taking an interest.” And it’s great that people are taking an interest in Nigel’s blog because it shows some of the wonderful things that can be done with a bit of savvy budgeting and fresh cooking. Nigel is chef manager for Connect Catering at Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, one of just a handful of state-maintained boarding schools. With a budget of £4 per head, he serves 85 boys, and around 20 staff members, five times a day, every day of the week. Not only that, he enjoys using expensive ingredients such as truffle oil, crayfish and smoked salmon

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The boarding house dining room

With a budget of just £4 per head, Nigel Simmonds, chef manager at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, rustles up five high quality meals and snacks a day. Morag Lyall investigates how he does it and will often be found putting on a must also cover a whole lot of food steak night for the boys. for growing teenage boys. A typical How can he do this on £4 a day? day will begin with one hot item for Scratch cooking, he says. At breakfast breakfast, a dish such as soup for he serves homemade granola and morning break, a two-course lunch, a homemade yoghurt alongside bought snack for afternoon break and a threecereals. All of the bread products, course meal for dinner. including pizza bases, are baked from Nigel is given his budget upfront scratch (“Everything apart from sliced and always knows his covers because bread,” he says. “I can’t do that – yet!”). meals form part of the pupils’ boarding He even makes fees. In his own pasta. contrast, the “Essentially this “All of this day pupils use means I can put the main school is their home. on a steak night dining hall (a They want or put crayfish matter of a few normal things” on the menu,” metres away) Nigel explains. where the However, while scratch cooking catering is provided by Caterlink and might give him the room in his budget is, therefore, entirely separate from the to splash out on more expensive boarding catering provision. ingredients, Nigel’s £4 per pupil Connect took over the boarding

contract seven years ago and with the help of Nigel has managed to completely transform the service. But there is no denying that with such a small budget it is a constant challenge. “I’m not going to lie, it’s hard,” he says. Because he lowers his costs by preparing lots of dishes from scratch, Nigel and his team have an awful lot of work to do in time for morning break at 11.50am followed by lunch at 1.30pm. Management is the key, from effective time planning to carefully controlling the budget. “We’re able to manage the budget really carefully,” explains Janet Brown, operations manager at Connect Catering. “Then we can look at areas where we can spend more money.” Nigel then approaches the school with the savings he has made and

November 2013

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STATE BOARDING CATERING

Profile

STATE BOARDING CATERING

offers more exciting ingredients such as steak and lamb, which might normally be too expensive. And while it makes things more interesting for Nigel and his small team – not to mention his blog – it is the boys who really benefit. “Essentially this is their home. They want normal things,” Nigel rightly says. When Nigel first arrived at the school almost two years ago he found that the boys were unused to having food plated up and dressed in front of them, but Nigel sees serving restaurant-standard food as part of his training and the way things should be done. Sure enough, the boys are now on board to that thinking too. “We often have some microherbs as a garnish and if they were missing there would be hell to pay!” he jokes. “[The boys] have raised their standards as well and it seems to have had a more calming effect on them.” The boys have a strong input on what goes on the menu. Food committees are held once a term where pupils from each year group can give feedback to Nigel and Janet and offer their thoughts on special events. This summer’s leavers’ dinner, for example, was a three-course sit-down meal for 24 boys, who were served Tandoori chicken ravioli, sous vide sirloin steak and chocolate fondant with cardamom infused ice cream. A regular event allows the well-behaved boarders to choose a dish for that evening. “If they want steak and chips, that’s what they’ll get,” Nigel says. “It’s funny, when I first started here they would request burger and chips. But they now ask for things like chicken caesar salad. You can see just from that how their outlook has changed. They’re choosing healthier foods and they have become a bit more foodie.” Perhaps a school that has a strong sporting influence would mean that the children are more likely to care about what they put in their bodies, but Janet suggests that they also recognise Nigel’s food as being

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STATE BOARDING CATERING

Profile

Janet (centre) with Nigel and his team

something that they would eat in a ideas for Connect managers. restaurant with their parents or see Nigel has also helped to create a on TV. street food recipe booklet. When Janet “We really work at creating that fine wanted to include dishes inspired by dining experience. But it has to be very the 10 best street food vendors in homely as well,” she says. London, she called on Nigel to work All of the menus served from Nigel’s on a recipe for bhangra burgers, made kitchen are checked by Connect to famous by Baba Gupta. make sure they are nutritionally “Nigel helped me a lot with the balanced, so serving street food week promotion, ‘restaurant-style’ food which was probably the “We really work at will not necessarily mean best promotion we’ve ever creating that fine an abundance of fats done,” Janet recalls. dining experience. and sugar. The successful set-up Each catering manager within the boarding house But it has to be very at Connect’s schools are at Royal Grammar School homely as well” in control of their own means that Janet now uses menus, some of which it as a benchmark for other are uploaded to an intranet where they Connect schools, training staff and can share ideas with each other. This making sure that everyone cooks to gives Nigel the freedom to experiment. the same high standard. He has recently managed to get a “If you meet Nigel’s team they’re vacuum pack machine and is having such a happy bunch,” Janet says. great fun creating his own makeshift “They’re so involved because Nigel water bath. Connect have also spends time with them to help them purchased a smoker machine for the improve and gets them involved in the managers, although it is yet to make menus and in presentation. They’re all its way to Nigel’s kitchen. passionate about what they do now This flexibility means Nigel is able rather than thinking it’s just a job.” to tailor his menus specifically to the It is not just Connect that has Royal Grammar boys. The salads, for taken notice of Nigel’s fresh thinking example, have become an extra main towards budget control and what course option after they asked for school food should be. It was healthy dishes. Nigel cooks a the teachers at Royal Grammar gammon joint to provide School who first encouraged him sliced cold meats on the to start a blog and Nigel was even salad bar – as well as the recently shortlisted for Chef Manager occasional smoked salmon – and of the Year at the Foodservice Cateys. he has helped to put together a winter Needless to say, these boarders are and summer salad booklet of recipe very lucky indeed.

To read Nigel’s blog, visit www.theschoolkitchen.blogspot.co.uk

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up Drink SOFT DRINKS, JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

With students being exposed to a wide variety of drinks outside of school, it is up to school caterers to make sure their offering stands up to the competition

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rinks are an essential component of the school dining experience, but it’s not always easy for caterers to find something which is both appealing to children and is school compliant. “With the UK soft drinks market worth approximately £14.5bn in 2012, it’s important for us to offer soft drinks to schools but also imperative that we keep within the government guidelines when it comes to what those soft drinks are, and how they are offered to the pupils,” says Sally Tyson, sales and mobilisation director at Alliance in Partnership (AiP).

MASS APPEAL

Like any consumers, students are looking for a drink offering which is exciting and eye catching, so it is essential that school caterers bear this in mind when thinking about what to stock. “Children and adolescents are becoming ever more sophisticated in their consumption habits,” explains Penny Butler, international sales manager at Radnor Hills. “They buy with their eyes first and are attracted to appealing packaging. Most school pupils are brand aware at an early age, so it is therefore wise to buy

products which are visually attractive with packaging that mirrors high street brands.” As well as opting for bright and bold packaging to appeal to pupil’s senses, school caterers should also consider brand messages to engage their minds too. Carys Delve, Aimia Foods’ brand manager for Zing, recognised this and enlisted the help of a focus group of 150 teenagers to develop the packaging design of their brand. “By doing so,” she explains, “we were able to ensure that the packaging appeals directly to the teen market, featuring recognisable icons from teens’ dayto-day life, including iPods, smartphones, laptops and gaming, so that cans have a definite presence on a counter, shelf or in a vending machine.” These days students are well aware of ethical issues, so school caterers should also consider

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SOFT DRINKS, JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

MARKETING With social media a way of life for children, marketing products to them is easier than it ever has been. This, coupled with in-house promotion, will help drive sales from all angles. “As every school is different in its offering, campus size and location, the best place to start can often be research,” says Ally Whitehead, SUSO brand manager. “Get to know your audience, what they want and what other food and beverage outlets they have to hand.” It’s vital to attract students of all ages with point-of-sale material, promotions and competitions to tempt purchases. “A good supplier will have point-of-sale material available to promote their brands,” says Penny Butler, international sales manager at Radnor Hills. “Posters, shelf shouters, and periodical promotional competitions are always a winner. Radnor also visit their schools to do taste tests to promote their drinks to pupils and persuade them to try. This has proved a successful strategy and in many cases caterers have reported a real upturn in sales as a result of a tasting session.” Health and financial issues remain a concern for consumers, so it’s important that school caterers offer value for money. “One way to reassure parents of the quality and value of a school’s soft drinks offering would be to publish a booklet at the start of each academic year, which summarises the products that are available within the school canteen, providing detailed nutritional information and peace of mind,” recommends Carys Delve, Aimia Foods’ brand manager for Zing.

stocking Fairtrade items as part of their retain custom and may even help to tempt offering. James Roberts, joint managing pupils with packed lunches back into the director of Peros, offers his advice, saying: school canteen.” “We would recommend PROMOTIONS stocking a wide range Marketing materials are an of soft drinks, juices and “Most school pupils effective tool to encourage smoothies preferably with are brand aware at interest and uptake. Most ethical, sustainable or healthy an early age, so it is companies will be happy to credentials. Look for the therefore wise to buy supply POS material such Fairtrade Mark in particular, as posters and table talkers, whose brand recognition is products which are while the EDUcatering Toolkit very strong in the UK.” visually attractive” can help in setting up special FOOD LABELLING themed days to boost sales of School caterers will be obligated to comply products such as soft drinks. with changes in food labelling legislation “Drinks are promoted in the dining next year, but it is important to remember hall by attractive point of sale, meal deals that consumers are also demanding more and special offer pricing,” explains Tyson. information on food and drink packaging. “Children are attracted to vibrant modern “It’s important to stock products that packaging, but what’s actually inside is the communicate strong brand messages most important element for us and we go that answer the needs and requirements for natural products at all times.” of students and their parents,” says Ally Children are notoriously sceptical about Whitehead, SUSO brand manager. the unknown, so letting them try before they “For instance, in a recent student survey buy is a great way to garner interest – and conducted by SUSO, calories were polled as word will soon spread if they find something the prime concern for young people, with they like. over 60% reading the label to identify the “Our research has highlighted that number of calories per serving. school councils and student tasting “Fruit and juice content was second panels can be very useful for trialling and on the check list, with over half of selecting drinks,” says Michele Davies, students checking for the amount head of marketing Calypso Soft Drinks. “If contained, as well as the amount of children have a say in the drinks that are additives and preservatives used.” available they are more likely to buy. We You’d be hard pushed to find a child offer sample packs for student councils that doesn’t enjoy sugary drinks, but to try.” with nutritional standards firmly in AGE RANGE place, it is up to school caterers to find Although there may only be a few years products that are compliant but which difference in age between pupils, there is give students the sweet hit they are a definite difference between the needs of craving without being unhealthy. primary and secondary school children, so “Keep the offering fresh and exciting one size definitely does not fit all. by stocking products that aren’t available “There are subtle differences in the outside of the school gates,” suggests two markets, but the gap between primary Delve. “This exclusivity will help to

Visit the EDUcatering Toolkit to create your own free school lunch promotion and help to increase your soft drinks sales

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SOFT DRINKS, JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

Report

school and secondary school tastes is for money, but are also willing to go certainly closing as children become more that extra mile by investing in additional adventurous,” explains Whitehead. “Ranges marketing activities and promotions that will for primary schools may include products boost sales.” that feature more youthful, character-based Size matters too. Different pack formats or colourful packaging as this is what tends and sizes will vary between primary and to catch the eyes of youngsters. secondary schools to suit the varying needs “Secondary school pupils, however, of these two groups. can be far more conscientious. We know “Smaller pack sizes that taste is still the most important factor in easy-to-use and in their purchasing decision (with controllable formats is a 76% of the students surveyed consideration for primary placing an emphasis on this) but school drinks,” says they’re also looking at the health Davies. “Secondary schools credentials too.” demand a greater choice It is not purely about of brands, drink types, pack offering each age group formats and price points. something different, but One of the reasons more about what’s right for school caterers should their demographic. purchase different sized “In primary schools, drinks for primary and secondary pupils pupils are limited to is price. choosing drinks by type and “Secondary school pupils prefer a longer flavour as exposure drink and have to brand names is more disposable prohibited,” says cash to pay for their “Keep the offering fresh Delve. “Therefore, choice of soft drink,” and exciting by stocking it is important that explains Butler, products that aren’t caterers are able to “whereas primary provide a product catering is very price available outside of the that tastes great, conscious and the school gates” offering flavour smaller 250ml or variations that 330ml portion sizes younger pupils recognise and enjoy. are plenty for the younger pupil.” “In contrast, secondary school children TRENDS hold greater buying power when it comes to Of course, school caterers try to emulate the purchasing decision, which is why it is what’s hot on the high street as that’s important for caterers to stock brands that what students are after. This is more of a not only demonstrate exceptional value

Products

for Schools

Fully school approved 1 of the pupils 5 a day

Radnor Hills Mineral Water Company Limited, Heartsease, Knighton, Powys, LD7 1LU

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T: 01547 530 220 F: 01547 530 651

E: sales@radnorhills.co.uk W: www.radnorhills.co.uk

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SOFT DRINKS, JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

TOP TIPS

Drink drama

• B e sure to offer a wide choice for students with a range of prices to ensure every child can afford a healthier, great tasting drink at school • S chools should serve drinks chilled for maximum refreshment and the best possible taste • A popular catering option is to offer juices through a self-serve dispensing machine. This can help with queue management at busy outlets, or can be used in self-service dining halls • V alue for money is everything – look at the relative cost to volume – for instance a 250ml canned drink is likely to cost more than a 330ml PET bottled drink because the packaging is a lot less expensive

what their children should be consuming and are worried about what their children are eating and drinking when they are at school. “Parents are growing more and more concerned with what their children are eating and drinking at lunchtime, with health, vitamins and nutrients being the challenge in secondary schools where some main requirements,” says Wes McKenna, cold pupils are able to leave the premises if there channel director at Coca-Cola Enterprises isn’t anything they want in the dining room. (CCE). “This has led to families opting for “To a large extent, there are firm flavour pure fruit juices or flavoured water variants favourites which steadfastly remain the that appeal to a younger market, whilst also most popular no matter what the age, providing them with the relevant vitamins such as orange and blackcurrant, which they require.” consistently remain classic flavour choices One way for school caterers to satisfy for all ages,” says Davies. students’ desire for something sweet and Although children are keen on sweet and delicious while appeasing their parents’ wish fizzy drinks, they are more aware than ever for something healthy is to offer fresh juices before of possible health issues surrounding and smoothies. what they eat and drink. “The variety of different “Drinking water is smoothie and juice flavour “Our research has essential to children with combinations are endless,” highlighted that school still bottled water being says Heather Beattie, brand councils and student our best seller,” says Tyson. manager for Zummo and tasting panels can be “Last year we distributed Waring at Nisbets. “With a more than 2,400 cases of little imagination you’ll find very useful for trialling water nationally. In addition, students are always willing and selecting drinks” we offer a range of fruit to try different things – juices and homemade fruit particularly if they are sold smoothies, with orange juice being the clear with a little creativity.” favourite throughout the year across all ages With the huge variety of schoolof school children – which of course, also compliant drinks on the market, school counts as one their five a day.” caterers should have no problem keeping Parents are also more educated about both parents and pupils happy.

Fruit juices and smoothies are extremely popular with children of all ages, with orange being top of the pops. By preparing juice fresh in-house, caterers can boost uptake of these healthy drinks by adding a bit of theatre to proceedings. “Allowing students to see their drink made fresh each time is much more exciting than simply pouring from the carton,” suggests Heather Beattie, brand manager at Nisbets. “And you’re not restricted to just juicing oranges – most citrus fruits can be juiced, including grapefruit – helping to extend the fresh juice offering.” Large juicing machines are capable of juicing up to 11 items of fruit per minute, making them ideal for when there are lots of thirsty students and time is of the essence. “Why not leave the fruit out at the front and let the pupils choose for themselves,” she suggests. “This will help them to understand exactly where their juice comes from.” Blenders are an ideal piece of kit for school caterers wanting to add smoothies, milkshakes and frappés to their drinks menu. “Experiment with ingredients and colour and let your students watch their drink being blended right before their eyes,” says Beattie. “Blenders are available in a variety of different sizes and powers to suit all requirements. The purchase of more than one blender will also give you the flexibility to serve a range of different drinks to students both quickly and simultaneously.”

Contacts AiP Aima Foods Calypso Soft Drinks CCE

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www.allianceinpartnership.co.uk www.drinkzing.com www.calypso.co.uk www.cokecce.co.uk

Cott Beverages Nisbets Peros Radnor Hills

www.susodrinkss.co.uk www.nisbets.co.uk www.peros.co.uk www.radnorhills.co.uk

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WRAPS

a

Focus

Got it all wrapped up With Mexican cuisine in hot demand, wraps are the ideal solution for school cooks to shake up their menu

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s the craze for Mexican food sweeps the nation, wraps, both hot and cold, have become increasingly popular as a food choice on the high street. As with most commercial foods trends this has now filtered into schools. Amy Teichman, quality and nutrition manager of Alliance in Partnership (AiP), has certainly seen this trend arise. She says: “Wraps have become increasingly popular with staff and students in our primary and secondary schools

over the last 18 months or so – largely due to many commercial fast food outlets introducing wraps into their ranges. Naturally, as an education caterer, we need to keep on-trend and supply to demand, while still being mindful of the nutritional guidelines for education caterers.” EVOLUTION

Who would have thought the beloved sarnie could ever be replaced? Well, it seems that the wrap is the next generation of sandwich to appeal to the youthful masses. “Wraps are the new sandwich,” says Paul Polyviou, national account and marketing

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“Trying to cater for a range of manager for Theo’s Food different palettes is not always easy,” Company. “They not explains Tony Goodger, BPEX only complement a foodservice trade manager. school’s grab and “Try introducing a go range, they sandwich bar enhance it. Schools for secondary should try the variety schools of flavoured wraps and ask looking for feedback by the schoolchildren to boost first. That will provide them with the interest information they need to identify five at lunchtime. most popular wraps – one for each day of the Students will enjoy school week.” creating their own School caterers needn’t take the drastic step sandwiches and can choose from of allowing wraps to usurp their a range of hot and cold wraps sandwich offer’s position entirely – alongside other offerings such as there is still room, and demand, for a “Wraps are the baguettes and loafs. A variety of fresh classic sarnie on the menu. “It is a good idea to give pupils new sandwich” pork options will appeal to students and be vital to the success of a a choice between wraps and sandwich bar.” sandwiches, served hot or cold, It is important for school caterers to avoid menu fatigue and it is to introduce new flavour combinations to students, important to include a couple of tasty vegetarian not only to emulate the successful dishes on the options,” continues Polyviou. “One of the key high street but to widen their culinary horizons too. benefits of tortilla wraps is their versatility – they “South East Asian and Mexican are forecast to are perfect carriers for a range of hot and cold be the most popular ethnic flavours this year,” notes fillings. The creative applications for wraps in Eimear Owens, foodservice marketing manager UK schools are unlimited.” & Ireland for Santa Maria. “With parents currently Wraps also maintain their freshness well, unhappy with the state of children’s menus in which helps to reduce wastage and eases the ever restaurants, there is no reason why these trends increasing time pressure put on caterers. According cannot translate onto a school menu, similar to the to Mintel, they are also healthier than traditional introduction of Italian food on school menus, now a white bread, which is of major importance when it firm favourite with children and caterers alike.” comes to feeding children at school. With dishes such as braised pork burritos, “Wraps offer a point of difference and, with enchiladas and barbecue pulled pork fajitas and the right ingredients, are a healthier alternative to quesadillas, Mexican flavours are dominating the white bread sandwich, making them perfect the wraps market and shows no signs of abating. for nutrition-conscious caterers,” says Toni Koumi, “It is well known that children love trying new operations manager for Love Joes. “Hot wraps are tastes and flavours and experimenting with new the latest big thing as a close competitor to a full food is essential to development,” says Goodger. blown, hot meal.” “The popularity of Mexican food is growing and the FLAVOURFUL FILLINGS trend presents the perfect opportunity for schools Although pupils enjoy global flavours, more looking to deliver something new. traditional fillings can work just as well with wraps. “Pork is at the very heart of Mexican

BREAKFAST WRAPS Although wraps tend to be thought of as a lunchtime snack, their versatility allows caterers to open up their menus and serve them first thing in the morning too. As many schools nationwide are introducing new breakfast clubs, it has never been more important for caterers to carefully consider their morning menus. “Until recently wraps have mainly been considered a lunchtime meal or healthy snack,” explains Tony Goodger, BPEX foodservice trade manager. “However, the trend for wraps at breakfast is significantly gaining in popularity. Many school caterers are developing their breakfast menus to ensure that children start the day with a nutritious, filling meal that will keep them going until lunch.” Of course, school caterers need to make sure the breakfast offering is just as healthy as the lunchtime one, but there’s no reason why they need to limit themselves to traditional breakfast options. As the colder months draw in, children are looking for something warm and filling to start the day. “Dishes such as the breakfast wrap and breakfast burrito are great alternatives and offer a nutritious start to the day. More importantly children will enjoy eating them,” says Goodger. Just as with sandwiches, pork products like ham, bacon and sausages are popular fillings for both hot and cold wraps. Not only are they tasty, but complements a range of other ingredients and deliver good value back to the kitchen. “Hot fillings such as bacon and sausages provide a perfect start to the day during breakfast service,” adds Goodger. Ensuring that pupils know what exciting new additions to the menu are on offer is vital if caterers are going to increase uptake. “The menus and boards need to be appealing for children, so having fun, bright colours on all POS material is a must,” recommends David Bryant, managing director of Major International.

Visit the EDUcatering Toolkit and get inspired with great wrap recipe ideas from Santa Maria

www.educateringtoolkit.co.uk

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LOVE JOES

Commercial Presentation

Wrap up this winter

with Love Joes

Wraps offer a point of difference and, with the right ingredients, are a healthier alternative to the white bread sandwich , making them perfect for today’s health conscious schools. 1

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hen students at Shelfield Community Academy near Walsall moved into their newly built school last September, they were thrilled to not only have a new school canteen known as The Mall and The Point, but a counter dedicated to made-to-order wraps from Love Joes. Complementing traditional meals and salads from the Bistro, Love Wrappin Joes is a healthy grab-and-go concept which makes ordering a wrap as much fun as eating it, holding huge appeal at the secondary school of 1,340 pupils, of which 900 take up school lunch. Catering manager Tracy Maley said: “We now have bistro style tables inside and outside at one end of The Mall, and then half way down The Mall, we have the Love Joes counter. With so many students queuing for the wraps, we found we needed our own counter for it.” Overall, the school has been offering

“Pupils would rather have a wrap than a sandwich, it’s just a different culture and something different.”

Tracy Maley, catering manager at Shelfield Community Academy.

Love Joes wraps for about eight or nine years and they have grown so much in popularity during that time, kitchen staff have gone from using four bags of fresh chicken during one day’s service to using nine to 10 bags a day. “I would say the chicken wraps are one of our most popular dishes,” said Tracy, who said they offered Love Joes chicken with a choice of Tikka, Tandoori and Mediterranean marinades, as well as occasionally Chinese and BBQ and then salad and choice of sauces. “Students can’t get enough of the Mediterranean marinade. We do loads of that. “Pupils would rather have a wrap than a sandwich, it’s just a different culture and something different. It’s also nice for them to have something that is hot, though we also do cold wraps, which go down fabulously as well with a bit of salad and yoghurt. “I think it’s lovely that the majority of the pupils have it with salad now, which ticks the box for a healthy option. Overall, I could not leave the wraps off the menu. It’s a massive thing. We sell 100-plus a day so what would those pupils do if they weren’t available?”

lunchtime to be an adventure. The kids also love the branding. While Tracy has opted to use her own nonbranded boxes and packaging, she still places the Love Joes posters strategically around the school in order to increase take-up further. “I think now pupils like to know what they are eating,” she said. MIGHTY MARINADES!

Love Joes chicken marinades include Reggae Reggae chicken, Tomato Twist, Greek Passion, Jerk, Red Thai, Piri Piri, Hot Chilli, Lemon Pepper, Hot & Spicy, Cajun, BBQ, Chinese , Tandoori, Mediterranean, Tikka, New Maple and Sweet Chilli, New Sweet Curry, and New Yellow Thai (Chilli and coconut) all of which are gluten free. For further information, call 08700 601240 or log onto www.lovejoes.co.uk. 1. Mintel - Sandwich Shop Retailing – January 2010

The three-step Love Wrappin Joes concept: • Choose your filling: Pupils choose from a selection of succulent Love Joes chicken marinated with a choice of flavour

COMPLETE PACKAGE

Love Wrappin Joes, which can be produced quickly, easily and replicated in large volumes, has been developed as a complete package, from ingredients to branding, and appeals to everyone from picky eaters to flavour fiends who want

• Choose your salad: Fresh salad is then added • Choose your sauce: Wrap is rounded off with one of eight Love Joes sauces

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Packaging

When it comes to aesthetics, children are extremely savvy and if the packaging is not up to scratch they’ll look to the high street chains to satisfy their needs. “School caterers can present a similar offering by buying in wrap kits or simply adding sauces like sweet chilli, chipotle, jerk and so on to their existing wraps,” suggests Sally Little, account manager for Planglow in the West. “Using packaging and labelling will provide the branded finish.” There are a multitude of wrap packs available, from off-the-shelf brands to delistyle paper wraps which can be used to roll around the wrap and then twisted at each end as seen in quick service restaurants. “This provides a more street-food vibe,” adds Little, “and can also be used to wrap fresh-made deli-style sandwiches too.”

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menus and regularly included in an array of traditional dishes. Value for money cuts such as collar, shoulder or pork mince are ideal fillings for wraps – slow cook the meat to produce succulent fillings that will not only win on taste but will also meet strict budgets.”

At caterers Taylor Shaw, wraps account for around 20% of the meals they serve in schools, compared with sandwiches, which make up 10%. It attributes the health benefits as one of reasons for their popularity. Lin Ridings, operations manager at Taylor Shaw explains: “From a HEALTHY EATING student’s point of view, they are an “It is well However, it is important that caterers extremely popular first choice because known that make sure their offerings fit with they’re grab and go food. They are children love dietary guidelines. Using lean pork, also satisfying, filling and provide pulses, vegetables and salads, all students with energy throughout trying new wrapped in a high fibre, wholegrain the afternoon. tastes and tortilla, will produce a tasty, satisfying “For us as caterers, wraps are flavours and and nutritional option. extremely versatile … and are an experimenting alternative healthier option to Parents and pupils are often mindful of health issues, so are with new food sandwiches as they have higher looking for something that will excite is essential to nutritional value and contain less the taste buds while being nutritious. carbohydrate on the outside.” development” “We are aware of the issues Chicken fajitas are the ideal tasty regarding fat, salt and sugar levels in and healthy lunchtime option for food and take great care to ensure hungry pupils, as it takes on flavour that our wraps contain low fat fillings, well, is low in saturated fat and is a which includes low fat spread, and free range great source of protein. low fat mayonnaise,” says Teichman. “The simple As Koumi explains further: “Chicken is hugely addition of salad is also contributing to the five a versatile and can be easily mixed with a host of day in our diet.” marinades and dressings, making it ideal for

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WRAPS

school caterers wishing to add a point of difference to a wrap menu.”

relate too as being the in-food to eat,” says Polyviou. “Like a lot of adults, schoolchildren are always eating on the go as their COOL FOR SCHOOL schedules are always so busy, so wraps give Street food is one of the biggest trends around this option.” at the moment and wraps are the perfect way to “Wraps also have a celebratory feel due tap into this in a schools setting. What’s more, the to their association with strongly branded grab and go, handheld nature of street food fits quick service restaurants like Nando’s, in well with many pupil’s lifestyles of rushing which are extremely popular amongst between lessons or wanting to get out and play the 16 and unders,” adds Sally Little, at lunchtime. account manager at Planglow in the West. “Much of what we have learned at These days, children are Santa Maria is that children love the more adventurous with food and idea of a handheld snack and it is an strive to be mature in their culinary “Children love tastes. As wraps are perceived to be extremely popular choice with kids in the idea of schools, especially as a grab and go an adult type of food, they are an option,” explains Owens. ideal choice for schools. a handheld “Offering wraps on your menu is “This maturity is largely due to snack” the perfect way to give schoolchildren the growth of wraps in cafés on what they want.” the high street and in pre-made Just like pop bands, hairstyles and sandwich chillers of supermarkets,” clothing, food has to be seen to be cool to have explains Dave Edwards, head of sales for Mission some street cred if schoolchildren are going to be Foodservice. “Wraps enable schools to replicate interested in it. this trend and appeal to pupils’ increasingly “It is a trend that schoolchildren recognise and adventurous appetites.”

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WRAPS

Focus

“The latest data from Technomic Research, commissioned by Mission Foodservice, reveals there has been substantial growth in the tortilla market, with tortillas tripling in use on full-service restaurant sandwich menus,” reveals Edwards. “This means pupils will no doubt have seen this increase in popularity of wraps outside school, and will welcome them on the school menu.” Wraps give caterers the perfect opportunity to tap into popular eating trends with ease. With the unlimited flavour combinations and the ability to be eaten hot and cold at all times of the day, these Mexican flat breads are a breath of fresh air for school dining rooms.

Contacts AiP BPEX Love Joes Major International Mission Foods Planglow Santa Maria Taylor Shaw Theo’s Food Company

www.allianceinpartnership.co.uk www.porkforcaterers.com www.lovejoes.co.uk www.majorint.com www.missionfoodservice.co.uk www.planglow.com www.santamariafoodservice.co.uk www.taylorshaw.com www.theos-uk.com

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Commercial Presentation

ACQUIRE SERVICES

All your suppliers

All in one place

p

Acquire Services explains the launch of its new FoodTradeDirect service

urchasing consortia are not new, and neither, to a large degree, is e-procurement. However, the focus of both has been primarily on medium to large-sized foodservice organisations looking to manage their procurement activity better, achieve an improved buying position and, in many cases, deliver an improved margin. Up until now there has been nothing available to independent schools and academies that combines both - or at least not according to Acquire Services, which claims to have corrected this with the launch of FoodTradeDirect. “Schools tell us that keeping an eye on food related spend and meeting (or beating) the budget is a constant challenge,” says Ed Bevan, commercial director at FoodTradeDirect. “With costs having risen in the last year, the task of providing more for less is getting increasingly difficult. Although buying schemes aimed at independent schools have been around for a while, FoodTradeDirect revolutionises the way schools buy as it combines the very best supply arrangements with straightforward e-trading and invoice management, while allowing the school caterer to maintain control of

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their supply chain and their payments. We understand the food requirements of each school will differ, and we will work on their behalf to connect them with a suitable range of suppliers who can reliably fulfil their needs – week in, week out.” Bevan says the vast majority of independent schools and academies have neither the time nor the in-house resources to manage their procurement efficiently or sustainably and this is where FoodTradeDirect can help, bringing all the processes together in one, simple-to-use web portal that does all the hard work for them. “With dozens of suppliers in each of 20 different categories, including grocery, frozen and dairy through to laundry and waste services, users simply engage suppliers from this portfolio or, if they wish, they can specify their own preferred suppliers. Once their unique supply chain has been selected, our buying team sets to work creating competitive price files specific to the school’s profile – and we guarantee that schools will never pay more than their existing deals when they transfer. When this process is complete all the information is made available on their exclusive web portal and they are ready to start placing online orders. Simple! “We understand the challenges that caterers at independent schools and academies face because we have

been providing food-related purchasing services to education-based foodservice professionals for over 20 years,” continues Bevan. “We also think academy status has provided the opportunity to react more realistically to customers’ requirements. While always making sure that the food offers are healthy and nutritious, having greater flexibility in providing wider catering choices to their customers will promote loyalty and drive revenue. Balancing that with quality, yield and reliability will result in improved margins, less waste and satisfied stakeholders.” But Bevan says that FoodTradeDirect is much more than just an e-procurement platform and points to a wide range of other business tools to support his claim. “Price files are constantly monitored and updated, not only to ensure that pricing is competitive but also to secure the safest supply chain,” he explains. Schools can either pay their suppliers directly or use the free FoodTradeDirect Invoice Management Service. This allows them to select the invoices they want paid and the system will do it for them – the caterer has full control over how much and when payments are made to their suppliers. If the caterer is disputing an invoice or waiting on a credit note, for example, unlike some other systems, it’s up to them what they pay and when they pay it. And a full history of invoices received, disputes in progress and payments made is always available online because FoodTradeDirect operates in the cloud 24/7. In case of difficulty our dedicated support team is on

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hand for day-to-day management of the account and to interface with suppliers, including dealing with any issue resolution. In addition to easy online trading and invoice management, buying activity dashboards will soon be available to every user in real time. These dashboards deliver a wide range of management information to help users understand their buying activity – everything from spend by supplier, top products purchased, and even the ability to set up reports that will compare category spends against a previous trading period’s spend profile. And, perhaps most significantly, Bevan points out, FoodTradeDirect includes access to Green10, a ‘unique industry first’, which enables caterers to track their sustainability performance across 10 key areas including food waste, food miles, animal welfare and local sourcing (www.greenten.co.uk). With so many advantages you might expect FoodTradeDirect to come at a price, but there is no contract to use it and it is completely free of charge. What’s more, the company claims it can save between 5% and 20% against all main spend categories

Commercial Presentation

Questions Answers

ACQUIRE SERVICES

within food, beverage and non-food. “What we have tried to create is a solution that will be familiar to anybody who has ever shopped for food and groceries online, even down to rewards schemes,” says Bevan. “We have devised a unique Rewards scheme whereby every six months FoodTradeDirect returns 50p of every £100 spent via approved supplier deals, so giving money back to invest in the catering services. Or, for every pound spent on purchases via approved supplier deals users will earn Rewards points which are credited monthly and can be redeemed for high street vouchers, catering equipment or donated to charity. Total Rewards earned are displayed online and they can be cashed in at any time.” Each portal can be branded with a school’s identity and colour scheme if appropriate and can be made available for single institutions or for small groups of schools who wish to consolidate their buying agreements and purchasing activity, perhaps monitored by a central resource that is granted holistic visibility of the buying taking place across an estate.

How long does it take to set up FoodTradeDirect? If existing suppliers are being used, then just a few days. Since FoodTradeDirect is so simple to operate, it’s usually not long until more suppliers are added to a portal. This may take up to 10 days, depending on the supplier.

Will using FoodTradeDirect save money? Just deploying FoodTradeDirect into your process will save you a lot of time (and therefore money) and we guarantee that you won’t pay any more than you do now if you transfer an existing supplier to trade via the system. That said, once trading, we will work hard in the background to reduce your pricing, which usually results in cost savings of between 5% and 20%.

Can any supplier be added to my system? We have hundreds of suppliers waiting to trade and will offer a wide choice that seeks to match your requirements in terms of range, locality and product provenance. If you want a particular supplier to trade with you via the system then we will work with you to make the necessary arrangements.

How do you monitor quality of the suppliers on the network? You need not worry about any aspect of the due diligence of the suppliers you engage with through us; we take care of all the legal requirements and continually audit a supplier’s suitability through our own in-house team of quality controllers.

Are there any charges? We do not charge users of FoodTradeDirect to do so. We will offer enhanced management information services in return for a small fee, and some suppliers may have a minimum order value, but use of the system - and access to all its standard functions, including Invoice management services does not attract a charge.

How and when can users access the ‘dedicated support system?’ We offer system and buying support over the telephone and by online chat and screen-sharing systems during normal office hours.

Further information can be found at www.foodtradedirect.co.uk November 2013

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Focus

COUNTERS AND FOOD DISPLAYS

Counter

Culture If the first bite is with the eye then making counters and food displays attractive to schoolchildren is imperative to encourage custom. Georgina Terry looks into the options

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rom hot roasts to cool snacks, heartwarming porridges to health-promoting smoothies, you’re no doubt serving the best school meals the nation has ever seen. But no matter how good your menu options are, if they’re served from confusing counters, displayed in an unappetising way, or even hidden by sub-standard serving apparatus, chances are your customers won’t be rushing through the doors. Choosing the right counters and food displays can be just as important as the food you’re selling from them, but there are many options to consider so making sure you get the right ones for your pupils, your space and your budget can be confusing. Thankfully help is at hand and the following considerations should help you make an informed choice. The first things to think about are the type of food being displayed, the method of service, and the available space. You’ll also need to ponder ethnic menu requirements, customer flow to prevent bottle necking, how payment is made, mobility (if the dining hall is used for other functions), heights in relation to primary students, and special needs. You’ll want to choose units that are robust, energy efficient, and easy to clean and maintain to be suitable for a school dining environment. Safety is also a consideration: for example, if products can be safely used for selfservice options; plus counter or servery equipment should meet all legislation relevant to the holding and display of food, both hot and cold. Finally, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA)

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recommends checking that manufacturers are using the latest energy saving technology, such as smart controllers in refrigerated units and high performance insulation in heated cupboards and wells. WHOLE-SOLUTION THINKING

For practical advice on choosing counters and food displays, we spoke to E&R Moffat, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of high quality equipment to the foodservice sector. “There is a strong demand for flexible food counters in schools, for example, ones that can be wheeled out of the way so the space can be used

“Some caterers specify both fixed and mobile units to give added versatility for when menus change” for lessons, assemblies or gym at other times,” said Gary Allen, the company’s sales director. “Some caterers specify both fixed and mobile units to give added versatility for when menus change, because the traffic flow may well change with them and the mobile units can be adjusted to match. Plus all counters need to be serviceable and hygienic to stand up to everyday wear and tear.”

Kris Brearley, sales director at RH Hall, the largest independent catering equipment supplier in the UK, offers further advice. Brearley told us: “Schools need to consider their type of operation and the foods/ menu items suitable for display and think about future needs as well as present. Will closed back-service display cabinets suit better than self-service options? Also, how will these options fit in with any existing servery/counters? “There are solutions for every need, from slimline units, to freestanding serve over counters and upright glass door refrigerated units and smaller countertop heated displays, but, above all with food display, style and looks are of paramount importance to maximise the appeal.” Surely with so many options on the market there are some items that schools don’t need to consider? Brearley thinks not. He said: “Schools will need all of the operational functions that commercial

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COUNTERS AND FOOD DISPLAYS

Focus

“Cabinets also allow the opportunity for children to get closer to the foods without the risk of contamination from touching fingers or coughs and sneezes!”

counter and food display units have to offer, like any other professional foodservice provider, you could argue even more so with children’s health involved. “Features such as easy-to-clean exteriors and interiors are vital, visible temperature display for HACCP monitoring, rapid cooling and self-closing doors to ensure optimum performance levels and forced air control systems to ensure uniformed temperatures and condensation prevention as this will ruin visibility and deter choice. In addition, heated units need to offer good heat distribution and a humidifying feature to prevent foods drying out. All the features embodied into units nowadays play a key role in ensuring they perform at their optimum to help ensure operators can comply with the food safety guidelines.” However, Diane Ho, commercial product manager at Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances, did suggest there’s one feature schools won’t need. She explained: “When it

comes to heated food displays, chances are that the produce will be served by the catering team rather than a self-serve set-up where the children have to select their own items. As a result of this, counter and food display units designed to be accessed from either side or those that are solely designed to be in a customer facing, front-ofcounter set-up are often found to be unnecessary in a school catering setting.” BRANDING AND VISUAL APPEAL

Once you’ve decided what counters and food displays will work best in your dining environment, it’s time to make the displays visually appealing to children to entice them to approach the counter. “A good counter or display can ensure that foods are kept at their optimum serving conditions, keeping them looking at their best, either at specific serving times or throughout the day,” stressed Brearley. “Good internal lighting will also help to catch children’s eyes and enhance the food display – bringing dishes more to life with added vibrancy. Do check though that the lights won’t

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COUNTERS AND FOOD DISPLAYS

healthy eating, the whole food plate etc and we stir-fried vegetables, chicken and sauces to a full class so they could see for themselves what we were talking about. I made a stir-fry as a demonstration and then the pupils had a go at cooking the same dish. One girl said she had never eaten vegetables before and several of the others definitely would have not tried the vegetables if they hadn’t had the experience we provided!” GOOD MAINTENANCE

overheat the foods in refrigerated displays. “Some models have been further enhanced to include glazed cabinet ends which offer even more product visibility. Cabinets also allow the opportunity for children to get closer to the foods without the risk of contamination from touching fingers or coughs and sneezes!” Servery and foodservice counter manufacturers Victor Manufacturing told us about their experience at Ward Green School in Barnsley (pictured above). Peter Brewin, marketing and communications manager at Victor, reports: “At Ward Green School, priority rested on a bright appealing counter that would draw pupils in to the colourful salad and fresh food offering. With clean white counter lines and lime green LED lighting glowing underneath, the unit is built to a child-friendly height and designed to display food to best advantage, while, importantly, providing easy access for the students allowing the children to help themselves to their favourite fruit, salad and vegetables.” As demonstrated at Ward Green School, children like bright colours and eye-catching details. To further capitalise on this, check whether it is possible to customise counters to your school colours or décor. With some manufacturers it is even possible to change the logos to suit different themes during the school year.

THEATRE COOKING

BGL Rieber, provider of commercial and industrial kitchen solutions, offered further tips on using counters and food displays to entice even the fussiest eater into the school lunch fold. Gareth Newton, BGL Rieber’s managing director, told us: “By utilising theatre cooking, children can be drawn into the food offer. Cooking in front of children raises awareness about the food offer, highlighting that food is being ‘cooked to order’ and communicating key messages such as the use of all fresh ingredients and healthy eating options. Theatre brings energy to the offer; staff are out front interacting with pupils, explaining and up-selling the menu, making recommendations and helping choose ingredients for the finished dish.” Chris Gallagher, catering manager and head chef at Corpus Christi Catholic Sports and Technology College in Preston reports on his experiences of theatre cooking. He commented: “We used BGL Rieber’s twin-module Varithek front cooking system in two ways: for stir-frys in the main refectory, and for a lesson on well-being. This included a talk about

“By utilising theatre cooking, children can be drawn into the food offer”

Whether incorporating a show cooking element or not, when you’ve decided on your counters and food display units, you’ll want to keep them looking, and running, their best. Fortunately, simple low-cost maintenance is the key to keeping cabinets in good working order, plus cleaning both internally and externally on a daily basis after service will prevent harmful bacteria building up. Malcolm Harling, sales and marketing director of Williams Refrigeration, advises: “If the cabinet’s exterior is looked after correctly it will retain an ‘as new’ finish for many years. Normal day-to-day cleaning should be carried out with a soft cloth and soapy water. For a stainless steel finish, always wipe the cabinet in the same direction as the grain. Never use abrasive materials, cleaners or chemical cleaners - these can damage the surface and cause corrosion. For protection, the exterior surface should occasionally be polished with a good stainless steel polish.” Regular servicing is also a must to keep counters and food display units at their best. Nick Oryino, chair of the CESA, says: “Efficient operation minimises running costs and regular servicing will maximise the life of the equipment. The ideal solution is a PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) contract. This is designed to keep equipment in optimum condition by sorting any problems before they get critical. The frequency of service depends on the equipment – in most cases, two services a year should be enough.” So, choose the food display units that are right for you, show them a little love daily to keep them looking good, plus a twice-yearly service, and use them to showcase food in a way that makes the eye’s bite a delicious one. And soon, all your customers will be buying into counter culture.

Contacts BGL Rieber CESA E&R Moffat Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances

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www.bglrieber.co.uk www.cesa.org.uk www.ermoffat.co.uk www.gdpacatering.com

RH Hall Victor Manufacturing Williams Refrigeration

www.rhhall.com www.victoronline.co.uk www.williams-refrigeration.co.uk

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Review

TECHNOLOGY

microwave

magic - or is it just

common sense? Jennipher Marshall-Jenkinson, chairman of the Microwave Technologies Association, offers some tips on cooking with this sometimes maligned method, fresh from her new award-winning book

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t’s common knowledge nowadays, after much research, that more nutrients are retained in microwave cooked food than in food cooked by any other method – and that they use up to 85% less energy to cook compared to conventional methods. They also don’t use radiation to cook with or emit alien waves. So why is there so much negativity towards cooking domestically and professionally with microwaves? Firstly, I think it’s those cheap ready meals produced 60 years ago that put us off doing anything but heating the occasional cup of coffee or plate of

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baked beans in one. Principally, in order for people to want to eat microwave cooked food, it has to both look and taste good – in other words, it has to be cooked properly. That requires the ‘cook’ to have an understanding of how microwaves actually cook food and use them to their advantage. Like any cooking method, microwaving requires a little skill, but for the uninitiated a lot of understanding as well. This is what some chefs lack. Many well-known chefs have become associated with microwave cooking,

yet some do not promote it (although many chefs likely have at least one microwave or combination oven in their kitchen that is in constant use). Maybe this is because they too don’t understand the cooking technique; after all, they have been taught the ‘traditional’ way of cooking (ie over a flame or in a box that’s heated by a flame). This cooking method hasn’t changed since the Stone Age over 20,000 years ago, so everyone is comfortable with it.

Microwaves were only invented during the 1940s, so it’s no wonder that some cooks are skeptical about using them. Few people have taken the time to experiment or to perfect their skill with this cooking method. Traditionalists are like old dogs – they don’t want to learn new tricks. This would also involve coming outside their comfort zone and having to think – and who wants to do that? It all comes down to being receptive to new information; willing to learn new cooking techniques; understanding this now not-so-new cooking method; accepting that microwaves can cook great food in a fraction of the time it would take with other methods; and being open minded. There is no magic regarding microwaves. They are created when the oven is switched ‘on’. They are high frequency non-ionizing electromagnetic waves, similar to television and radio waves, that were discovered by accident during the Second World War, during experiments with radar. On the spectrum of electromagnetic waves, the wavelength is located between the bands assigned to radio transmission and infra radiation – the ones used for infra-red

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TECHNOLOGY

grills in the top of ovens. Their similarity to radio waves is the fact that they are both very short waves, only 12cm long (hence the name MICRO-wave), and can be confined within the metal walls of an oven. Once the oven is switched on, electrical energy passes through a magnetron. The waves produced are channeled into the oven by a waveguide. These can be reflected, transmitted and absorbed – the properties that make them so useful. The waves bounce around inside the oven cavity, alternating in positive and negative directions through almost every substance except metal at 2,450 megahertz (or 2,450m times per second). If it happens to be food that the waves come into contact with, the molecules within the food react to the electrical charge by moving fast – 4,900 million times per second. The movement produces friction within the food, which generates heat, but no chemical changes take place. It’s a bit like rubbing one’s hands together to keep warm – the

resultant friction generates heat. It should be remembered, though, that microwaves can only penetrate up to 2.5cm into the food itself. If food is thicker than 2.5cm the inner parts are still cooked by conduction as in a normal oven. Density also has an influence on levels of penetration into food mass – for example, sponge cake as compared to meat. So, we can see that microwaves cook from the outside in, not visa versa. The magnetron will only produce microwaves when the timer is set, the oven door is closed and the power is switched on. Every time the oven door is opened the microwaves automatically switch ‘off’ and all ovens have a safety lock with prevents the door from opening accidentally. So, let’s have a look at cooking something simple – vegetables - properly. Cut a variety of vegetables into evenlysized pieces: for example a carrot stick, some florets of cauliflower and broccoli and some cabbage. Wash thoroughly and cook only in the water that adheres

“That metal box can be used daily, saving money, time and nutrients”

to their surface in a container just large enough to hold the vegetables. Cover the dish with a well fitting lid. The vegetables will cook in their own moisture. Their nutrient content will not deteriorate and no salt need be added. One portion of vegetable for one person will cook in approximately two minutes in a 900-watt oven. Two portions will take approximately three minutes. A dish containing four to five vegetables (enough for two to three people) will not take 10 minutes, but approximately six minutes. But YOU have to find your own benchmark. Cook a bowl of vegetables (enough for two people, all evenly cut) for five minutes, in an oven lower in power than 900 watts. They won’t be cooked, but continue to cook for one minute at a time, until almost cooked to your preference. Allow the dish to stand for two to three minutes while the rest of the meal is being gathered together. The result perfectly cooked vegetables. Oh, and stand the cooking dish on your dinner plates (as long as they don’t have metal painted edges), so you can serve your meal on warm dinner plates, at a fraction of the cost of heating the plate warmer. While preparing this simple bowl of cooked vegetables, you will have spent the whole of the cooking time thinking – not something you’re used to doing when cooking simple fare, but that is where this cooking method differs – it’s new. You need to think about cutting the vegetables evenly, what the wattage of your oven is, testing them every minute to get them cooked properly. But once it’s done, it’s done! You do not have to think any more – just put the vegetables in the microwave oven, press the on button and that’s it – thinking over. That’s a new cooking technique learned. Now about making a cake or a sauce, cooking some chicken or some fish – you have just opened up a whole new world. That metal box can be used daily, saving money, time and nutrients. It is just a case of being receptive to new ideas and another cooking method that is already in your kitchen.

Review

Jennipher MarshallJenkinson has been an officer of the Microwave Technologies Association since 1989 and its chairman since 2003. In the mid 1980s, she also assisted setting up the prestigious MICA (Microwave Information Council of Australia). Her new cookbook, Microwave Magic - The Heart of 21st Century Cooking, is the first dedicated microwave cookbook to be written in Europe in the past 12 years, and it recently won The People’s Book Prize. Readers can buy the new book for the special price of £10 (plus £2.95 p&p - normal price £14). All books will be signed by Jennipher. Send a cheque for £12.95 made payable to Seriously Food, to 23 Earlsfield, Holyport, Berkshire, SL6 2LZ. It will be posted within 14 days.

For more information, look up the factsheets at www.microwaveassociation.org.uk or www.gamamicrowave.com

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Profile

DAIRY

Cream of the crop Dairy is such an important part of our diet, but is not necessarily something that children will automatically choose. Georgina Terry explains how to get your pupils down with dairy every day

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in’t milk brilliant? Dairy, whether in the form of yoghurt, cheese or simply as a long drink of the white stuff, is a great source of calcium, an essential nutrient for all children to help grow strong bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in later life. In fact, milk is a good source of protein, Vitamins D, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12, which are helpful for good vision, healthy skin, the production of red blood cells and supporting the nervous system, so it’s vital to get school kids guzzling dairy. Milk is free for children up to the age of five but if you want to make sure that sticks and stones don’t break their bones, you also need to get dairy products into the everyday diet of older children too. However, no amount of nutritional education about the wonders of dairy will get pupils eating more if it isn’t offered in an appealing way. Making dairy fun and tasty by mixing up the format each day so that little eaters don’t get bored is a cunning way of getting them to consume their recommended daily allowances. And that’s easier to do than you may think.

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DAWN ‘TIL DUSK

Lucy Jones, nutritionist and Lactofree brand ambassador at Arla Foods, suggests targeting dairy throughout the day. “Dairy can be included in children’s diet in so many ways from milk and yoghurt at breakfast clubs, to cheese sauces, custards and milk jellies at lunch, right through to offering milk at break times,” she says. Milk breaks can become part of the regular school routine, while at lunchtime, caterers can do a bit of stealth cooking for dairy sceptics by incorporating cheese and milk in sauces like lasagne. While some children might not be keen on drinking milk, more are likely to enjoy cheese, which is an equally good way of adding dairy to children’s diets. Bel UK, producers of cheese brands including The Laughing Cow, Leerdammer and Mini Babybel, recommend buying into the power of cheese during break times. Aude Romelly, channel marketing manager for Bel Foodservice, tells us: “With over 85% of children aged between seven and 15 years old snacking once a day, and over half snacking several times a day, Bel UK cheeses are made with schools in mind. We work towards filling the gap in the market for more choice and healthier snacks to replace sweets, crisps and chocolate that up to 70% of children

“Dairy can be included in children’s diet in so many ways”

currently choose as their preferred snack.” She continues: “Mini Babybel can add value to your menu in a variety of ways by brightening up your snack display to entice children, make a welcome addition to your menu or add a continental twist to your breakfast offering. When nutrition is paramount, and caterers have to adhere to strict nutritional guidelines in schools, Bel UK cheeses are the perfect way to deliver vital energy, protein and calcium for growing teeth and bones. “Our familiar and much loved brands can tickle the tastes buds of the fussiest of customers and still adhere to the nutritional guidelines that are in place.” DAIRY VARIETIES

Yoghurt, whether taken as a snack, as part of breakfast or as a dessert, is also an excellent way of dishing up dairy, and some brands pack an extra nutritional punch with probiotics. Joanne Sexton, procurement manager at Acquire, explains: “Aside from traditional items such as milk and cheese, yoghurt is an excellent option. It is rich in protein and vitamin B2: essentially the same nutrients as in milk. Some varieties contain living bacteria that are healthy for your digestive system (probiotics). “Yoghurt can be made from whole or low fat milk,” Sexton adds, “but be careful,

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DAIRY

Profile

MILK MYTHS BUSTED by Cool Milk 1. Milk is high in fat and not good for children… MYTH Not all milk is high in fat. A 189ml serving of semi-skimmed milk contains 3.5g fat; that’s 55% less saturated fat than whole milk.

2. Whole milk is better for children than semi-skimmed… MYTH Semi-skimmed milk has more nutrients than whole milk and also has a reduced fat content; 55% of saturated fats.

3. Soya milk is healthier than cow’s milk… MYTH Soy milk contains only about a quarter of the calcium of cow’s milk, so if you are unable to eat or drink dairy you should allow for this by eating calcium rich foods in other parts of your diet.

4. Milk contributes to the development and the severity of acne… MYTH Some people believe that the consumption of milk and dairy contributes to the development and severity of spots and acne. However no definitive evidence exists to support this.

5. The body has difficulty absorbing calcium… MYTH Our body can absorb the calcium in milk and dairy products more easily than the calcium contained in other foods such as green vegetables. To get the same amount of calcium as in a 200ml glass of milk, you need to eat eight whole broccoli spears, nearly a kilo of spinach or seven and a half slices of bread.

6. Milk and dairy can worsen the symptoms of asthma… MYTH For a long time, milk has been suggested to worsen the symptoms of asthma, despite no scientific evidence to support this. Unfortunately many asthmatics are advised to avoid dairy which not only provides no benefit to their asthma symptoms, but may lead to poor intake of important nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous for which milk and dairy are rich sources in the diet.

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Profile

fruit yoghurt often contains added sugar.” Another easy win for increasing dairy in school children’s diets is by adding a touch of cream to dishes. But don’t fret about crying over spilt milk (or high costs); Pritchitts, the dairybased foodservice provider, believe they have the answer with Millac Gold, a dairy cream alternative. Andrea Collins, school catering manager at Birmingham’s CTC Kingshurst Academy, has been using Millac Gold for over 12 months and reports: “I am really

DAIRY

impressed with the results. It tastes just as good as real dairy cream and is really adaptable – one of the real USPs for me is that once it’s whipped, you can freeze it and when you defrost it, it hasn’t split, and you can use it straight in the piping bag. We use it in so many of our dishes from soups and sauces to favourites like homemade potato dauphinoise, tiramisu and pasta bakes.” With 1,500 pupils to feed, Andrea says her biggest challenge is offering a variety of menu options. One way she does this is by replicating foods that can

“Yoghurt can be made from whole or low fat milk, but be careful, fruit yoghurt often contains added sugar”

be found on the high street in school dining halls, but at much lower cost than high street prices. “Make sure you keep your menus interesting and try to be innovative wherever you can,” she advises. “The versatility of Millac Gold has really helped me to achieve this and keep costs down in the process.” SPECIAL DIETS

Of course, there are fussy eaters and then there are those who cannot have regular dairy products because of dietary conditions such as lactose intolerance. This is a surprisingly common condition affecting up to 15% of the population. However, it is vitally important that children with lactose intolerance do not exclude dairy from their diet without finding an appropriate alternative, otherwise they will be placing themselves at nutritional risk. Jones, of Lactofree, explains further: “There are lots of non-dairy alternatives including soya, rice and almond milk,

Why not run a special theme day to get kids eating more dairy? Visit the EDUcatering Toolkit to create your own posters for free

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but a particularly popular option is Lactofree. Lactofree is real dairy, just with the lactose removed so their products hold all of the nutritional and taste benefits of standard dairy.” She advises school caterers to be absolutely on top of children’s dietary needs – whatever they may be – in order to stay mindful of serious conditions and ensure the child gets a healthy and nutritious meal. “Schools…need to keep an open dialogue with parents to understand the food groups children are allergic or intolerant to and to put steps in place to ensure dietary adequacy,” Jones says, also noting that meals should, where possible, be made to look the same as the regular meal on the menu in order to prevent stigma of the children affected. Wise words, and ones that should help even lactose-intolerant children reap the benefits of a daily dose of dairy products. From breakfast smoothies to lunchtime custards, snack cheeses to tasty yoghurt, there are platefuls of ways to get school children down with dairy every day. It’s versatile, full of essential nutrients and tastes great, and by offering a variety of options to keep them interested, soon all your pupils should be tucking into their recommended portions every day. Milk, it really is brilliant.

Profile

“Schools need to keep an open dialogue with parents to understand the food groups children are allergic or intolerant to and to put steps in place to ensure dietary adequacy”

Contacts Acquire Arla Foods Bel UK Cool Milk Pritchitts

www.acquireservices.com www.arlafoods.co.uk www.belfoodservice.com www.coolmilk.com www.pritchitts.com

November 2013

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Report

OPINION

Keeping catering

costs bay at

Jerry Brand, managing director at Caternet, discusses the challenges faced by bursars in controlling school costs

m

ost schools in the UK are in the same proverbial boat when it comes to dealing with rising food costs and persistent spending cuts. But the challenge still remains for schools to deliver healthy, balanced meals for pupils in line with the increased demand from parents for better quality and variety, while keeping spending at bay. Unfortunately, controlling spend in a decentralised community is not that straightforward. The rising costs of commercial goods mean that every penny counts and the burden on bursars and finance departments to quash overspend and minimise waste is at an all-time high.

But I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel if certain changes are made. Controlling spend while keeping on top of all of the purchases that a school makes is a common problem that bursars face. What is needed is a cultural and technical shift across the education sector towards a more unified, collective way of purchasing goods. Take the many people responsible for ordering stationery for the school as an example. They could quite happily blow the entire school budget if they are not controlled properly, both from amount expended and potential choice of multiple suppliers. I’d like to re-emphasise that word ‘collective’. Isn’t it strange that even though most schools face the same ongoing challenges day to day, they still continue to work in isolation of each other? When you start to realise that these schools are actually sitting on the same side of the fence, you start to see the potential for change and the implications that has on controlling costs. Archaic IT systems and withered processes have not helped bursars keep on top of school spending or to feel empowered when dealing with their suppliers. This is partly as a result of outdated technology and resourcehungry systems, and partly the ‘stuck in a rut’ syndrome or fear of change. The result is the same mistakes are repeated day in, day out, pushing many bursars further away from regaining control of the school’s finances. If the education industry was supported by good technology and united as one when dealing with external suppliers, it would help to drive down costs of goods and force suppliers to be more competitive on price. Schools should have the choice to use local suppliers and continue to help the local business community – or choose a national supplier if they so wish – but having the correct

information to make an informed choice on who to buy from would go some way to alleviating this problem. How can bursars take the right steps towards regaining control of the school’s spending?

“Isn’t it strange that even though most schools face the same ongoing challenges day to day, they still continue to work in isolation of each other?”

Communicate first, then purchase • Save anything between 15-20% by going direct to a wholesaler, grower, manufacturer or source of the product and/or service that you want to buy. • Tell everyone what you are paying for the product up and down the country. That way, each school can decide whether they would benefit from being part of the collective purchasing group. • Keep your budget holders in the loop so they too can start buying through the system suppliers. Make it genuine collective purchasing Create a group of members and communicate with them to decide how best they can use the technology, the prices and the suppliers. Only use good technology that works Structure your supply chain into local and national nominated product lists and service specifications and go online with them, providing a live priced service where suppliers are responsible for updating their pricing. This immediately controls price creep, allows collective purchasing opportunities and reduces each school’s administration time. If schools and their bursars start to work together in the battle to control costs they’ll simultaneously benefit from the experience. The power of joining every school’s collective purchasing online will mean that all schools, regardless of size, geography, denomination or style, can benefit from purchasing together.

Contact www.caternet.co.uk

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November 2013

23/10/2013 15:28


DIGITAL BLONDE

Digest

#EDUawards Twitter report Karen Fewell looks at the Twitter reach of this year’s EDUcatering Awards Many people who were unable to attend this year’s EDUcatering Awards have said how much they enjoyed experiencing the evening via Twitter. They were able to send best wishes to the nominees, follow the banter and find out who the fabulous winners were as the results were announced. As I often do, the morning after the awards I used social listening software to go back and reflect on the evening via the tweets. I know we still have some people to convert to social media, so thought you may be interested to see what happened. Don’t think that when you open a Twitter account that you need to be tweeting all the time. 40% of people with a Twitter account never tweet. I don’t see this as a bad thing, as much of the value in social comes from ‘social listening’ and using that for business insight.

WHEN DID PEOPLE TWEET?

“Don’t think that when you open a Twitter account that you need to be tweeting all the time”

Excitement for the awards grew throughout the day. The highest number of tweets per hour was when Alan Dewberry explained about the Twitter wall and using the event hashtag. I have to say, hearing Alan explain a hashtag was a proud moment for me! WHAT WERE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?

The most-used words in #EDUawards tweets on the evening of the awards were: congratulations, winners, talent, thanks, caterer, industry, fantastic, and luck.

Twitter feed ▶ Susie Haworth @susie_haworth #EDUAwards – tweeting during dinner is a new experience :) ▶ Elke Dawkins @Justtalkingfood Hollie Haines is AMAZING! #EDUawards Pic.twitter.com/ XTU3lhU9qx ▶ Lindsay Graham @LindsayGrahamUK Look at our wee star tonight at the #EDUawards Harrison Harley I love him. Belting out a tune! He is 9! Pic.twitter.com/hLojFgc5vJ

WHO TWEETED?

With 768 tweets and a reach of 85,503 Twitter accounts, naturally I am unable to share all the tweets here. I do have a report of them if you are interested, just get in touch.

▶ Lynda Mitchell @LyndaJMitchell Well done to Holly Haines winner of schools got talent at #Eduawards amazing voice ▶ Judith Gregory @JudithGregory28 Congratulations @brad_pearce on your Local Authority Caterer of the Year Award #EDUawards @EDUcateringmag ▶ EDUcatering @EDUcateringmag “A career spent in school meals is a career well spent” #EDUAwards Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Beverley Baker ▶ Alan Dewberry @DewberryAlan Congratulations to all the winners at #EDUawards – thanks everyone and enjoy the rest of your evening

If you have any questions, please contact Karen@DigitalBlondeMarketing.com or tweet @DigitalBlonde

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Expert

AVA

Vending

Viewpoint

Automatic Vending Association Tel: 01494 568 960 Web: www.ava-vending.co.uk Linked in

Jonathan Hilder, chief executive of the AVA, shows how an integrated healthy eating programme can benefit from a vending service The last few months have thrown up a number of challenges to the vending industry which I have covered in this column recently, and it is great to be able to take the opportunity to discuss in more detail one of the initiatives and businesses I highlighted. Vending AUTOMATIC services can be utilised to VENDING offer a good balance of choice ASSOCIATION www.ava-vending.co.uk to the consumer, including Tel: 01494 568 960 a large proportion of healthy meals and snacks, as appropriate to the machinery’s setting. The case in point is within a healthcare setting, but a lot of the procedures and methods employed would work across other sectors including education and workplace catering and illustrates how a planned and integrated programme of healthy eating can include,

and benefit from, an intelligently applied vending service. NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (GGC) made the decision in 2009 to conduct a thorough review of retail catering operations, enabling them to introduce policies and procedures that ensured they had a tight control on what was offered to staff and visitors as well as patients. New contemporary brands were installed with a 70% healthy food and drink offering (low fat, sugar and salt), resulting in the trust gaining a Healthy Living Award from the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland. This has since been upgraded to a Healthy Living Plus award that extends across 11 hospital sites. A key component of this project was the vending provision and the NHS GGC turned to local vending company Abercromby, who specialise in fresh food vending. Utilising this expertise to ensure all vending complied with the strict guidelines for health, while still being able to provide the required 24 hours a day availability of

Follow us on Twitter – @vendingava Join us on LinkedIn – The Automatic Vending Group

food and drink including hot meals, has been critical to the success of the initiative. Abercromby are able to provide a service that offers in excess of 50% healthy options by controlling the content of the food vended by them, ensuring control over ingredients used, costs and freshness. With their selection of fresh, handmade and ‘loweverything’ meals and snacks, Abercromby themselves have been awarded the Healthy Living Award. Partnerships with companies such as Aimia, who supply their Pourmoi hot drinks machine, which vends quality 99% fat free beverages, complement the service offered. This partnership has proven profitable for all parties, as well as exceeding proscribed targets for healthy eating and ensuring that key staff have nutritious hot food available 24 hours a day. Automatic vending is as healthy as the products within the machine and this initiative shows that vending is an integral part of a controlled programme of food and beverage supply within any particular setting.

Contact Abercromby Vending at www.abercrombyvending.com or call 0141 554 2563.

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November 2013

23/10/2013 16:36


UPCOMING EVENTS

Diary

Pencilled in WED 27TH NOV – SUN 1ST DEC | BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW WINTER | NEC BIRMINGHAM | £23.25 (£24.75 SATURDAY) | WWW.BBCGOODFOODSHOWWINTER.COM One of the biggest food and drink shows in the country returns for a festive edition and will not disappoint. All the favourite celebrity chefs from BBC food programming will be making an appearance at the Supertheatre, including James Martin, the Hairy Bikers, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. In addition to the presenters there will be past contestants at the NEC too: MasterChef winners Natalie Coleman and Shelina Permalloo will be taking part in a MasterChef Cook Off and Great British Bake Off winners John Whaite, Edd Kimber and Jo Wheatley will also be giving their baking tips. Elsewhere, there is a huge speciality food market, the Producers’ Village, which is packed with small artisan producers, and the M&S Christmas Theatre, which will host top chefs cooking their own seasonal recipes using M&S ingredients. A particular highlight will also be the World Cheese Awards, with judging taking place on the first day of the show, after which visitors can view the cheeses and take part in tasting and demonstrations.

THURS 5TH – SUN 8TH DEC | PADSTOW CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL | ACROSS PADSTOW | FREE | WWW.PADSTOWCHRISTMASFESTIVAL.CO.UK Visitors to the hugely popular Padstow Christmas Festival can expect to see an impressive line-up of celebrity chefs appearing at the Cookery Theatre on the North Quay. Michael Caines, Tom Kerridge, Sat Bains, Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw, Mark Sargeant and Angela Hartnett are just some of those set to give chef demonstrations across the four days, and best of all, they are absolutely free to attend! There are lots of other things that keep people returning time and again to this festival (in fact, so popular is the Padstow Christmas Festival that the organisers have added an extra day and a second chefs’ theatre). The Christmas Market, situated on the South Quay, is bigger and better this year, with some of the best Cornish producers selling their wares, from handmade chocolates to chutneys, mulled apple juice and paella. There will also be lots of gift stalls and family activities such as a Santa’s grotto, music and a lantern parade through the town.

SAT 7TH- SUN 8TH DEC | GREAT TASTE FESTIVAL OF FOOD AND DRINK | DONINGTON PARK, DERBY | £7 |WWW. FESTIVALOFFOODANDDRINK.CO.UK The Great Taste Festival of Food and Drink will certainly put you in a mood for Christmas! With a host of fabulous food producers, this event will capture the essence of Christmas and offer plenty of inspiration for festive parties and dinner ideas for the big day. It’s not all about buying, though. The Producers Theatre will host a number of award-winning producers who will talk about some of the amazing stories behind their produce and give visitors the chance to meet the people behind their favourite products. The Cookery Theatre, meanwhile, will offer more practical solutions, with plenty of tips and techniques through cookery demonstrations from none other than baking extraordinaire Paul Hollywood and other top chefs.

SAT 14TH – SUN 15TH DEC | THE RED FUNNEL COWES FOOD SHOW | COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT | FREE | WWW.COWESFOODSHOW.CO.UK Celebrating the very best in local Isle of Wight produce, visitors to the Cowes Food Show can expect everything from organically-grown tomatoes and oak smoked garlic, to freshly-baked artisan bread. And because it is a special Christmas edition of the event, visitors can also expect to be able to pick up some festive gifts for family and friends. Highlights include food theatre demonstrations from some of the isle’s top chefs and talks from Isle of Wight producers, stalls with locally-produced food and drink, arts and crafts, live music, children’s entertainment and much more.

November 2013

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What’s New

DRINKS, FOOD AND PRODUCTS

British-made boilers

Sealed gluten-free bread Dr Schär Foodservice has expanded its range of gluten-free bread products with a sealed, part-baked Crusty White Roll. Individually wrapped in a sealed, bake off foil, caterers can cook the bread in the film alongside other gluten-containing products without any risk of cross contamination. The high fibre roll has all the characteristics of a typical French baguette, including a crispy golden crust with a soft and fluffy interior crumb. The part-baked roll can be ready in just 12 minutes and can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months after purchase. The transparent film also means that caterers can see and feel product freshness. www.drschaer-foodservice.com

Burco Commercial has announced the launch of a new range of British-built mains-filled water boilers with built-in water filtration. This is one of the biggest announcements from the brand, which has been manufacturing water boilers for over 50 years. The new flagship Auto-fill Filtration range has a built-in, easy to replace water filter, designed to reduce limescale build-up to vital components, even in hard water areas. The unit also alerts operators when it is time to replace the water filter. The boiler range features a clear and easy to use LCD display, allowing users to quickly

Looking good front of house Staff working front of house can look stylish and contemporary with the latest ChefWorks Pilot shirts, available exclusively from Nisbets. Available in both ladies and men’s sizes S-XL, the modern shirts have roll-up sleeves and two front pockets and are made from Polycotton with Spandex for comfort and ease of movement. Each shirt has triple needle stitching detail, which makes for a smart finish. They come in black, white or grey, which can be accessorised with brighter clothing from the Colour by ChefWorks range, which now includes chef jackets, beanies and baseball caps in blue and berry colours. www.nisbets.co.uk

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adjust the water temperature to the desired setting. Other features include visual and audible alerts and self-diagnostics to prompt operators to change the filter or highlight problems with high or low water pressure. The Eco-mode significantly improves efficiency, as operators can set the boiler to automatically turn off and on between certain times. The mode also allows the unit to ‘sleep’ after a period of inactivity. The ranges comes in a variety of countertop and wall mounted models of between 5 litre and 20 litre tanks. www.gdpacatering.com

Juicy offering Country Range has a new range of juices which are guaranteed to refresh schoolchildren’s palates. The Orange and Apple Juice products are 100% pure fruit juices from concentrate and come in 200ml cartons with an eyecatching packaging design. Each carton contains one of their five a day and children are signposted to this by a new icon on the side of the pack. The products come in cases of 27x200ml cartons and sit alongside a range of beverages, condiments and preserves in Country Range’s Front of House portfolio. www.countryrange.co.uk

November 2013

23/10/2013 16:42


DRINKS, FOOD AND PRODUCTS

Reader Offers

READER OFFERS Win a Le Chef PrepShirt from Denny’s Uniforms!

Win a supply of Juicebreak and a Tasty Recipes book from Aimia Foods! Looking for a school-compliant soft drink solution that delivers on taste, quality and price? Aimia Foods has the product for you. Juicebreak is the only bag-in-box dilutable soft drink for schools, enabling quick and easy dispensation for busy caterers. Available in both orange and apple & blackcurrant flavours, Juicebreak contains more than 65% real fruit juice, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. What’s more, one serving of Juicebreak provides pupils with one of their five a day. Juicebreak is both school compliant and meets the Voluntary Code of Practice. Juicebreak forms part of Aimia Foods’ Made Easy range, which comprises of drinks, desserts and baking ingredients that are either ready to consume or can be prepared in seconds with the addition of water. To make the preparation of delicious dishes even easier, Aimia Foods has compiled a collection of 28 mouth-watering recipes, including Mississippi mud pie, bread and butter pudding and chocolate chip mini meringues, all made with products from within the Made Easy range including Juicebreak. Made Easy’s Tasty Recipes book is available to download for free from www.simplymadeeasy.co.uk. For your chance to win one of five 3-litre boxes of Juicebreak and a copy of the Made Easy Tasty Recipes book, email your contact details, quoting ‘Juicebreak – Educatering Magazine’ in the subject bar to madeeasycompetition@aimiafoods.com by 4th December 2013. To enquire about stocking Juicebreak or for more information about the Made Easy range, please contact Aimia Foods at customer.services@aimiafoods.com, or call 01942 408600.

Le Chef, the iconic chefswear brand, is celebrating its’ 20th birthday and to celebrate are giving away five Le Chef Prep shirts, the most exciting development in kitchen clothing in 20 years. The Le Chef Prep Shirt, is a tighter fitting, hyper comfortable kitchenwear range constructed from Hi-Tech moisture-wicking fabric that circulates air around the body. The innovative Prep Shirt is designed for a new generation of kitchens where people are looking less at tradition and more for comfort, breathability and a great fit (not too loose or too tight – just perfect) and at an affordable price for everyone. Choose from two colourways Black/White or White/Black and in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL and 4XL. The Le Chef Prep Shirt is available online at www.dennys.co.uk, or to win one of five shirts worth £13.55 each, email morvanpr@gmail.com, stating ‘Le Chef Giveaway – EDUcatering Magazine’ in the subject bar. Please also state your colourway preference and size.

November 2013

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Expert

PAT FELLOWS

INDUSTRY

INSIDER

October has been a very busy month. I have been on the early train to London four times but it has been very worthwhile and I am still as upbeat as I was in September delighted that they received this award The EDUcatering Excellence Awards were from our industry as I fully support what held on Monday 14th October at the Royal Garden Hotel in London. It was a fantastic they have done, and more importantly, how evening. As always the dinner prepared by they have gone about it. executive chef Steve Munkley and his The last award of the evening was the brigade was delicious, and despite restricted Lifetime Achievement Award, which was space, beautifully served by the front of won Beverley Baker, head of commercial house staff. The award winners reflected the services at Surrey County Council. She best in the school catering industry, but as received it in shocked, happy surprise. there were 16 categories, I regret that I Beverley has done so much for school can’t write about them individually here, so catering during nearly 40 years. I will highlight just three. Congratulations to her. The very worthy winner of the Local I attended the London and South East Authority Caterer of the Year was Brad Regional meeting of LACA at Unilever in Pearce, head of Plymouth Leatherhead. Roger City Council Education Denton, the regional chair, Catering Service. The and the committee, had “I was delighted that they service was the first local arranged a very received this award from our authority caterer in the interesting programme, industry as I fully support country to be awarded the with particular emphasis gold Food for Life Catering on allergies and the EU what they have done and Mark in 2012. It sources changes to food labelling more importantly, how they local and seasonal coming soon. There were have gone about it” ingredients and 86% of nearly 100 attendees and the food is prepared and it was a very pleasant, cooked from scratch every day. Brad has useful and informative event. been actively involved with the School Food I also went with Morag, editor of Plan and is the chair of the South West EDUcatering, to the Westminster Food and Region of LACA. Congratulations to Brad on Nutrition Forum. Linda Cregan, CEO of the receiving this richly deserved award. Children’s Food Trust and Anne Bull, At the start of the event, Alan Dewberry, national chair of LACA, gave interesting the CEO of EDUcatering, announced a presentations on improving school food and Special Award, kindly sponsored by Nestlé. It procurement. There were various other came as a complete shock to the winners speakers during the session on Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent. I was implementing the School Food Plan.

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Finally Myles Bremner, director of the Plan gave an update on the implementation programme, followed by a question and answer session. Three important issues were raised during the session: Will it be compulsory for infant and primary schools to provide free school meals to Key Stage 1 from September 2014? There was not a definitive answer to this question, but I have spoken to Myles since and in his view it will be compulsory. I intend to follow this and keep you informed. A client officer from a large shire county council where the school meals budget has been delegated to every individual school, said that some headteachers were suggesting that in order to accommodate the extra meal numbers for the infants they are considering reducing the junior provision to free meals only (hopefully not a sandwich meal). I was horrified to hear this, as it would totally defeat the objective of educating children to eat a healthy nutritious meal. I will also be looking into this and write about it when I have more information. The third issue is about capital investment for additional cooking equipment, refrigeration, and any building works. It appears that £600m is revenue to provide the meals, which includes the food, staffing, light equipment and furniture. The Department for Education is looking at either providing capital funding and/or loans for schools. Again, I will have more information soon. I have spoken with lots of people who have many different methods of production. There is no doubt that there are going to be some difficulties in setting up in readiness for next September. I am reassured after listening to Myles about all the different initiatives and planning that is taking place. Probably the most important project is to make sure headteachers and governors understand what is going to happen and what their responsibilities are regarding school meals. I hope that some of you have had a break at half term; it must now be time to get ready for Christmas lunch.

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EDUcatering Magazine - November 2013