‘Constant challenge’ teaching pupils about food during Covid-19, says catering MD

The managing director of a catering company that works with many independent schools has said its teams have had to adapt significantly during the pandemic

The managing director of CH&CO Independent has said the Covid-19 pandemic has made delivering positive messages about food to children more of a challenge.

“It is clearly a constant challenge for our teams to interact with the children, an element of their roles they love, when the pupils may be spread over an entire school building to eat,” said Deborah Homshaw.

“Many of our teams, however, have continued to work throughout this pandemic with key worker and vulnerable children, and then the slow return of some year groups, and have constantly adapted to new ways of working brilliantly without exception.”

Just as teachers have had to move to remote learning, catering teams have used technology to deliver messages about healthy eating and nutrition to children.

Homshaw said: “Technology is going to play an even bigger role as we move forward. Virtual marketing and messaging are clearly going to have an increased presence.

“At the start of lockdown, we launched our From the Kitchen initiative, which extended our interactive, educational activities from the school dining room to pupils’ homes with delicious recipes, nutrition information, supermarket swaps and fun activities. This proved incredibly popular and has helped maintain interest and enthusiasm around food within our school communities.”

It is clearly a constant challenge for our teams to interact with the children, an element of their roles they love, when the pupils may be spread over an entire school building to eat – Deborah Homshaw, CH&CO Independent

CH&CO Independent’s teams have adapted to working with Covid-secure systems and environments in the kitchen. They have been given support in the form of guides, training on safe systems and practices, and advice on using PPE effectively.

Working with many independent schools across the country, the catering company have also had to adapt their offering depending on factors such as school size and building style.

“We’re working very closely with our clients to ensure our offer is tailored and right for their specific needs and unique environment – from meals served in the dining room to lunches served in classroom bubbles,” said Homshaw.

Homshaw said the good news is the pandemic has highlighted many of the company’s priorities.

She explained: “The pandemic highlighted seasonally available produce and the importance of minimising food waste. This has always been a priority for us when developing our zero waste initiatives and menus, and it is a positive outcome of the pandemic that this is now an even greater consideration. Great news for the planet!”

1 Comment
  • Irfan H Latif

    We are fortunate to have Deborah and her excellent team at CH&Co providing our catering service at DLD College London. A great partnership looking after the health and wellbeing of our students and staff.

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