Plymouth school meals shortlisted for another award

Staff serving up millions of school meals to children in Plymouth have been shortlisted for another national award for their team work, plus the service’s locally sourced, quality ingredients and seasonal menus.

Plymouth City Council’s Education Catering Service has been chosen as one of five finalists for the Cost Sector Team of the Year at the Cost Sector Catering Awards 2014.

Brad Pearce, Education Catering Manager, said: “To be shortlisted at these prestigious awards is an achievement in its own right. It means the team has been nominated by peers in our industry who think we deserve recognition and it ranks us among the top five catering teams in the country from both public and private sectors. To say I’m thrilled is an understatement!

“We’re adding this to our growing awards cupboard! So far we hold 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 our fresh, seasonal menus sourced from local suppliers. But we have an insatiable appetite for more! We are a team constantly striving to improve for the benefit of children and young people in Plymouth.”

The Cost Sector Catering Awards are the highlight of the foodservice and catering industry calendar. There is no other arena that offers the people who work in it the chance to be judged by their peers and come through to win industry-wide recognition as the best – it is the highest acknowledgement of merit that can be bestowed from within the foodservice industry.

The Cost Sector Team of the Year award recognises how getting a group of individuals working to collective aims and objectives can achieve amazing results. The category is open to all teams working in contract catering or self-delivered operations in the private and public sector.

Plymouth is already recognised as one of the country’s pioneering education catering services, and as such, is currently working to help schools throughout the South West to prepare for the launch of the universal free school meals this September. Brad is also a blogger for the School Food Plan and has been asked to be part of the Plan’s Small Schools Taskforce, whose objective is to help small schools overcome their particular logistical difficulties, and drawn up a strategy to improve the skills and morale of school caterers.

Councillor Nicky Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We’re so incredibly proud of our education catering team – 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. They are an excellent example of how the public sector can compete with private companies and will be one of the first teams as part of the transformation programme to become a true co-operative service in the very near future.”

The Council’s Education Catering Service provides school lunches at 64 primary schools, 5 special schools, 1 nursery school, 1 Alternatively Complementary Education Service and 2 secondary academies.

Winners of the Cost Sector Catering Awards will be announced on Thursday 24 April at a glittering event in London. Fish fingers crossed for Plymouth!

For more information about Plymouth’s school meals visit