The team preparing school meals in Plymouth is once again receiving national recognition after being crowned with another prestigious award last week.
Plymouth City Council’s Education Catering Service was shortlisted in two categories at the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) annual awards held in Birmingham earlier this month.
The team scooped the Nan Berger Memorial Award in recognition of its cooperative work with schools and increasing access to the service through the use of the website, on-line payments and QR codes on menus. They narrowly missed out on the second award, the LACA Catering Business of the Year, to London Borough Tower Hamlets.
Brad Pearce, Plymouth’s Education Catering Manager, said: “Winning awards never gets old! We’re extremely proud of the national recognition we’re receiving and our growing collection of awards keeps on motivating us to strive for bigger and better things. Our biggest recognition, however, is the feedback we get from children and parents. The proof of the pudding is most definitely in the eating in our line of work, and we increased the number of meals served last year by 91,896 to over 1.53m a year.
“All our meals are freshly prepared using fantastic local and seasonal produce and much of it is organic from regional suppliers. We treat those ingredients with absolute respect to ensure we make delicious and nutritious meals for young people. We work incredibly closely with schools in the city – it’s a great partnership based on full co-operation which has resulted in real success.”
The school meals service was also shortlisted for Team of the Year at the Cost Sector Catering Awards and Best Local Authority Service at the MJ Awards this year. They are holders of the Education Caterers of the Year 2013 from the Educatering Excellence Awards, as well as a ‘Good Egg Award’ for using only organic eggs and the Gold standard from the Soil Association in recognition of the service’s fresh, seasonal menus sourced from local suppliers.
Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health, said: “Brad and his team are fantastic – they are a real credit to the Council and the city. They ensure our children’s meals are made from top quality ingredients from local suppliers here in the Westcountry. With the introduction of the free school meals for infants from September many more children in the city will benefit from our fantastic service.
“The future of school meals in the city is incredibly exciting – we are on the verge of becoming a co-operative interest company with schools from this September, which will see even closer collaboration and work with children, schools and parents to ensure we continue to offer a first class service.”
The Council’s Education Catering team serves thousands of school meals every day to 64 primary schools, 5 special schools, 1 nursery school, 1 Alternatively Complementary Education Service and 2 secondary academies.
For more information about Plymouth’s school meals visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/schoolmeals