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The issue of healthy eating has never been more important for education providers to be aware of. With the Government reporting that nearly a third of children aged two to 15 are overweight or obese, it’s vital that independent schools play an active role in educating the younger generation about having a balanced diet. But what are the best ways for them to do this and how are the attitudes of pupils changing as a result? 

A big responsibility

Deborah Homshaw is the Managing Director of CH&CO Independent, a specialist caterer that works across the independent education sector. She believes that her industry has a role to play in not just feeding children, but also in nurturing and inspiring positive relationships with food too. She said: “We should all take responsibility for ensuring our future generations learn the fundamentals of good eating and its benefits. It’s part of a child’s education and development, and an essential part of life.”

Dr Lisa Gatenby is a Registered Nutritionist at Healthwise Nutrition. As part of her role she helps independent schools with the menus they offer, and, as pupils spend a great deal of time at school, she believes it is a great place to help enforce healthy eating messages and provide a balanced diet too.

Commenting further, she said: “It’s so important that children get a healthy diet generally and independent schools therefore need to make sure that the food they offer is as healthy as it can be.

“They have the ability to choose their own food provision, but it is important this meets the nutritional needs of the pupils to ensure they can grow and develop as well as possible, making them as successful as they can be in their studies.”

Promoting healthy eating to pupils

Holroyd Howe is one of the UK’s leading contract caterers, and they provide food services to independent schools across the country. As part of their team they have two qualified nutritionists, who regularly go into schools such as St Paul’s School for boys to promote the importance of healthy eating to pupils.

Claire Long, Regional Managing Director, believes that it’s important to deliver this information in a short and snappy way in order to make it as engaging as possible, and said: “It’s so important to educate children at a young age by talking to them about good food. Independent schools need to educate pupils in a rounded way, not just academically, so that they can understand what good health and wellbeing is.” 

Dr Lisa Gatenby thinks that independent schools should spend more time explaining the difference between healthy and non-healthy options to pupils. In her experience, she has found that pupils may pick a cereal bar over a chocolate bar as they appear to be a healthier option, however, they can still contain a large amount of fat and sugar. Discussing this idea in more detail, she said: “Some pupils are keen to eat well to enhance their development or sporting abilities, however, they are not always choosing the correct food, and sometimes marketing and fancy food labels are all too attractive and pupils can easily misinterpret information. 

“We do have to consider that food is everywhere and snack food sales have increased dramatically, meaning that even a pupil trying to eat a healthy balanced diet can easily take in too many calories, fat and sugar.”

Pupils’ attitudes towards food

As today’s pupils have grown up in the digital age, Deborah Homshaw has seen them embrace wider choice and start to question what they eat, which means that independent schools need to be open and transparent about the sourcing of their ingredients. She said: “They have information at their fingertips and they understand the connection between food and health.”

Amy Roberts, Director of Nutrition and Food Development at Holroyd Howe, has recently worked with the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour, who have looked at the link between nutrition and the behaviour of pupils in schools. She thinks that although pupils today are naturally more educated about healthy eating than they have ever been before, it’s important for independent schools to look at things like brain development when it comes to considering their menu options.

Commenting further, she said: “Getting pupils to eat more fruits and vegetables is not the battle for independent schools anymore, instead the challenge now is taking nutrition to another level and encouraging them to eat more things like oily fish which can aid their concentration in lessons.” 

Deborah Homshaw has seen a growth in social sharing eating styles, which she thinks helps to remove peer pressure around what to eat and what not to eat, as well as encourage children to try new foods. In addition, she has also seen a rise in plant-based menus across independent schools. Discussing further, she said: “To ensure pupils choosing meat-free options or a vegan lifestyle get all their nutritional requirements, schools need to recognise and embrace this, and work in partnership with caterers and their nutritional experts to educate children and parents.”

Dr Lisa Gatenby worked with Hazelwood School in Surrey on their menu design. She says that although most schools work on a four-week cycle, Hazelwood School decided to write a new menu for every week in order to give pupils as much variety as possible. She added: “I think that offering a new menu every week is a really good way to make catering options appeal to children and it also keeps the work interesting for catering staff too.  

“Independent schools have more opportunity to be flexible than state schools, so I think they need to take more advantage of this with their menus.”

Case studies

Leweston School in Dorset is a day and boarding school with pupils who range in age from three months to 18 years. At lunch they offer a hot meat and vegetarian option, as well as soup, jacket potatoes, a salad bar, and fruit and yogurt, alongside other dessert options. In addition, they also have ‘hydration stations’ in the dining hall where water is available flavoured with fruit, herbs and cucumber, and jugs are also available on every table.

Discussing further, Marketing and Admissions Manager Claire Worsley said: “From a centralised perspective the catering team reduce salt and sugar where possible. Sweet treats are available but cakes, sauces and custards are made with less sugar or alternatives.

“There are also plans to increase pupil involvement in menu choices by introducing feedback opportunities, such as electronic lunchtime surveys or contributions via post-it note. The catering team also work hard to make the presentation visually attractive using boards, baskets, platters and crates.” 

The Eden School is a co-educational independent faith school in West London for children aged from two to 18. Since the school started in September 1995, they have been committed to promoting healthy eating. As part of this, pupils are not allowed to consume sweets, chocolates or fizzy drinks during the school day, and each Tuesday they receive a health presentation during morning assembly to raise awareness of the impact that certain foods can have on their body.

Commenting further, Head Teacher Laura Osei said: “Over the years, our rules have always been met with a degree of opposition from the pupils, but we have found that as we continue to educate our pupils and provide them with healthy alternatives, they are more likely to make better choices.

“Our nursery and reception pupils, for example, will always request fresh fruit as their snack. Parents have also reported that their children are now requesting healthy meals during the week instead of solely demanding junk food and even pointing out whether or not their parents are eating healthily.”

Portsmouth High School for girls in Hampshire are aware that healthy eating is proven to increase pupils’ concentration levels and understand the responsibility they have to educate pupils about making better meal choices during the school day. As part of this, they run a series of educational activities for pupils in their state-of-the-art food technology centre, which has workstations for 25 people.

 Elaborating on this, Lucinda Webb, Director of Communications, said: “We have food tech lessons from Years 7–9 which give a Level 2 B-Tech qualification. Sixth Form also have enrichment classes which include cooking and food preparation for university and beyond, and we also have cookery club available as a co-curricular activity which is open from Year 1 to Sixth Form. 

“In addition, through our Pupil Voice ambassadors we have a termly food forum where girls can directly feed back to the catering manager about their likes and requests for menus and discuss health options, packaging and choice.” 

Knowledge is power
Rory Larkin, Nutritional Business Partner at CH&CO Independent
“In our digital world of easily accessible – but often dubious, misleading and confusing – nutritional information, how can we get the right information to pupils and parents, and help them make healthy eating a way of life?
“The key is to empower people with correct and relevant knowledge, rather than telling them what to do. When people know the basic principles of nutrition they instantly have more options to eat healthily.
“A great way to achieve this is through workshops that engage children and parents, creating an environment where questions can be asked and realistic advice can be given in relation to government guidelines. Busy lifestyles and information overload can make healthy eating daunting, so it’s important to give people access to easy-to-digest, evidence-based facts. As children often ask questions that some adults may feel embarrassed to ask, working with children and parents together can have excellent outcomes.
“For those less willing to make positive changes to their diets, social norms messaging can be a fantastic tool. This subtly nudges an individual in a chosen direction in a way that makes them feel like they are making the decision, which makes new habits more likely.”
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The development began earlier this year after a period of consultation lasting several weeks between Headmaster Simon Smith and Holroyd Howe, who took over the school’s catering provision on St David’s Day.

The work has seen a complete restructure of the serving areas and furniture at the facility, and the kitchen has also seen a major upgrade with the installation of state-of-the-art equipment as part of the investment, which will benefit both day and boarding pupils considerably in the coming years.

Mr Smith said: “This will reap significant benefits in the long term which will shorten queueing time, further improve the menus and provide a contemporary dining experience which we can all appreciate and be proud of.”

This is the latest in a series of exciting developments around Rydal Penrhos as part of their ongoing desire to improve each area of both the Prep and Senior sites to enhance the experience of each pupil under their care.

Construction teams are also renovating the Sixth Form Ferguson Centre during the summer holidays following a successful pupil-led fundraising initiative that was instigated by departing Year 13 pupils Morgan Roberts and Anna Richardson. 

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Holroyd Howe has been appointed as Rydal Penrhos School's new catering provider.

The specialists will be offering pupils a wider variety of choice, higher quality food and, in the coming months, supporting a total renovation of dining areas and kitchen equipment.

This is in addition to the school's already planned £50,000 refurbishment of its Sixth Form Centre, he primary objective for this year’s Annual Fund campaign.

Holroyd Howe has 19 years’ experience working with independent schools, particularly boarding schools, and began at Rydal Penrhos with a varied Welsh-themed menu to coincide with St David’s Day.

The company have been recognised for their work with a number of industry awards, including Independent School Caterer of the Year in 2015 and 2016.

Holroyd Howe will also deliver training and development for the school's current catering team, assist with menu design, and provide professional advice through their in-house nutritionists.

Amongst other changes, Holroyd has introduced rustic style salad bars, weekend treats for boarders, regular theme days and tasting tables and first-class hospitality, from match teas to formal dinners.

The breakfast, lunch and supper menus will be inspired by local and international dishes.

Headmaster Simon Smith, said: “Holroyd Howe’s offer is based upon ‘glorious ingredients, balanced nutrition, making food fun, inspiring creativity and exceptional hospitality’. These are exactly the values that we want from our caterers – to add value to our pupils' overall educational experience.

“I anticipate Holroyd making changes which reflect the needs, culture and aspirations of our school. In a boarding environment, which promotes learning and leadership, we must also provide healthy and exciting eating experiences which are restaurant standard. It is also a prime example of us being a listening school and being responsive to our pupils’ voice.”

 

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St Aubyn’s School in Woodford Green, Essex, is an independent co-educational preparatory day school with 524 pupils, ranging in age from 3 to 13. Founded in 1884, it is one of the oldest preparatory schools in the country and is set in eight acres of land with excellent teaching and sports facilities. Plus, it is within the Woodford Conservation Area.

The school has recently completed a major reorganisation with the completion of two significant new buildings: a new dining hall and staff room with rehearsal and drama facilities, and an impressive new nursery building with state of the art facilities.

Leonard Blom, Headmaster, commented, ‘’Our dining hall, which was built 3 years ago, has markedly improved the eating experience for children and staff.  This excellent facility enables all pupils to enjoy high quality and nutritious food which is cooked on site by our new caterers, Holroyd Howe. It also helps our pupils develop important social skills - it is a real pleasure to watch them engage in lively conversations with their peers and teachers.  As part of our pastoral care programme, it also provides another opportunity for us to teach the children good table manners from a very young age.”

“The new staff room comfortably accommodates all three departments. I conduct my morning briefings with all staff present in one area which supports my belief in good communication across the school community. The new area is a perfect setting for staff meetings and INSET.  An important social benefit is that the teachers have a quiet and sophisticated area to relax and enjoy refreshments,” continued Leonard.

“The design of the purpose-built performance space for drama and dance teaching further enriches our excellent expressive arts programme. We are very proud of our nursery which really is a first rate facility. There are two separate classes which has helped to alleviate over-subscription for the setting.  Each class is equipped with high quality resources designed specifically for use in the Early Years. This, coupled with the excellent teaching, makes this EYFS setting second to none.’’

The building achieved BREEAM ‘excellent’ overall and ‘outstanding’ in many aspects, and has been confirmed as the most energy efficient new building in the London Borough of Redbridge

Both buildings have been designed by Michael Foster AA Dipl MA RIBA (a former partner of The Tooley & Foster Partnership), and they were built by contractor Kind & Co.

There are similarities between the two buildings in the simplicity of the design and in the use of matching materials

Michael Foster confirmed that there was a totally unbiased commitment by the client  to look at different ideas throughout the design process, ‘’As an architect, it was very refreshing to table alternative concepts as the design developed, and to find that there was such a positive reaction to the adoption and development of new and previously unconsidered directions’’

Gordon James Dining Hall

The first project comprises a new dining hall for use by the whole school, with an associated commercial kitchen facility on the ground floor and a central staff room and rehearsal/drama facilities on the first floor.

It is located on a very sensitive grass site in the centre of the school grounds, with the original locally listed building on one side and a large pond, surrounded by trees, on the other.  

The building achieved BREEAM ‘excellent’ overall and ‘outstanding’ in many aspects, and has been confirmed as the most energy efficient new building in the London Borough of Redbridge. Its facilities serve all parts of the school and have allowed improved teaching and administrative areas to be developed within the existing buildings

New nursery building

The development of this building was prompted by two demands – the need to provide two distinct nursery classes as the existing single nursery was outdated and not appropriate for sub-division, and the desire to provide onsite residential accommodation for new staff moving into the area.

The two storey building, located at the end of the campus and on the site of the original 1970’s single storey nursery, therefore includes two integrated nurseries on the ground floor and two staff flats on th

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Amy Roberts, Director of Nutrition and Food Development at Holroyd Howe, discusses...

Educating pupils on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle lays the foundations for a healthy future. With a strong understanding of how and why to eat healthily, pupils will be able to make informed choices, not only at school, but in later life. At Holroyd Howe, we use classroom learning and dining room demonstrations and talks to educate pupils. 

As the Director of Nutrition and Food Development, I work closely with the Executive Chef team to deliver a nutrition education programme into our schools. This includes age-appropriate activities, hands-on workshops and information sessions from our nutritionist team. 

There is an indisputable link between nutrition and improved sports performance

We have also found simple things such as displaying posters in dining rooms on ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake or the importance of whole grains keeps nutrition top of mind for pupils. 

Discovery days are another way we educate pupils, demonstrating different ingredients in their raw or natural state and showing how they can be used in a variety of ways. This encourages pupils to taste foods they have not tried before and gives them a deeper understanding of culinary processes.

There is an indisputable link between nutrition and improved sports performance, however, this is one area that is sometimes overlooked by sports teams in schools. At Holroyd Howe, we make it our responsibility to improve knowledge and support sporting performance with the food we provide and the education we deliver to pupils, and even their parents. By working alongside sports departments, we successfully implement sports nutrition programmes to complement existing sporting schedules.

Their initiatives help Holroyd Howe to interact with the pupils with the goal of making food both fun and educational.  

W: holroydhowe.com 

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Ask a pupil to name as many vegetables as they can and nine times out of ten, the list is sure to include peas, carrots and broccoli. The question is, at what age will their repertoire include the likes of kale, butternut squash and asparagus? 

In a bid to increase the exposure of school pupils to some of the more exciting members of the vegetable family, Holroyd Howe has launched a Food Explorers concept. The initiative uses tasting tables to introduce pupils to different foods, prepared in a variety of ways. For example, winter kale might be offered as kale crisps, a smoothie or in a kale and feta quiche or pumpkin might be shown roasted, as seeds, or in a soup or pie.

The chefs running the tasting table ask pupils to identify the key ingredient and taste the various offerings before telling them where it comes from and describing its many nutritional benefits. They use seasonal, British produce as much as possible, whilst also introducing interesting other ingredients such as ancient grains from around the world. 

This fun, interactive approach to food education helps to remove the barrier young people so often put up when it comes to less common ingredients and particularly vegetables. It also creates a communal, unpressurised environment where pupils feel like they are being given a treat and not being forced to “eat their greens”.

The pupils are rewarded for their efforts with a sticker to proudly wear home to tell their parents all about their most recent adventure at school.

Holroyd Howe’s Top Vegetable Recipes

  • Baked kale crisps
  • Kale frittata
  • Baked sweet potato chips
  • Sweetcorn panna cotta
  • Spicy bean burgers
  • Feta, beetroot and chickpea puffs
  • Black bean chili 

W: www.holroydhowe.com 

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Food for thought: The importance of breakfast

School caterer Holroyd Howe has been paying particular attention to the most important meal of the day - breakfast - a meal often overlooked in schools and households alike. With school timetables demanding high levels of concentration, sporting performance and social interaction every day, starting the day with the right fuel is vital. As well as providing energy, the right breakfast foods contain important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins, as well as protein and fibre. The body needs these essential nutrients and research shows that if they are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day. Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals, so pupils should be encouraged to try to include a portion of their daily five at breakfast, whether that be a banana or a glass of fruit juice. Breakfast also restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function. Many studies have shown that eating breakfast can improve concentration levels, lower stress levels and improve attainment and behaviour. Holroyd Howe’s recommended breakfasts include bircher muesli with fresh fruit, yoghurt and fruit pots, savoury muffins and porridge.

www.holroydhowe.com

Cutting kitchen consumption: energy down by 34%, water down by 53%

Researchers at Zurich University have studied the energy consumption in a commercial catering kitchen before and after a major refurbishment. They found that, by switching from conventional appliances to the latest multifunctional cooking technology, the kitchen reduced energy consumption by 34% and water consumption by 53%. Moreover, the new kitchen appliances were able to produce more food from less space. The staff restaurant at ABB Schweiz AG, the Swiss manufacturer of energy and automation technology, was selected for the research project, using Frima VarioCooking Centers and Rational combi steamers.  The aim of the project, undertaken by Zurich University for Applied Sciences under the supervision of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinzelmann and SV Schweiz, was to record the efficiency of multifunctional cooking technology under real conditions, with a ‘before and after’ comparison based on the most accurate possible measuring equipment. At the start of the project, in April 2014, the restaurant produced around 380 lunches daily, using conventional technology in a cook-and-hold system, with a menu choice of four different dishes.  Measurements of energy and water consumption were taken over a period of eight weeks. The number of main meals, the menu, food waste and over-production were also logged. The measurements showed that production of each main meal required 0.58 kWh of electricity and 2.72 litres of water, not including dishwashing requirements. The kitchen renovation, including the installation of Frima and Rational appliances, was undertaken in summer 2014. A second measurement of energy and water consumption showed a significant reduction. Energy consumption dropped by 34 per cent, requiring only 0.38 kWh per main meal. This corresponds to a reduction in annual CO2 emissions of 1.8 tons. Water consumption was only 1.28 litres per main meal, 53 per cent less than before.  Anton Bucher, project manager planning and construction at SV Schweiz, says: 'The cost savings allowed us to create an attractive front-of-house cooking concept, with a pizza oven and a pasta machine and boiler, without needing any extra budget.” “The project proves that modern cooking technology can optimise the use of resources, reducing energy and water consumption significantly,” says Graham Kille, managing director of Frima UK. “What’s more, the restaurant was able to increase the range of meals it offered, thanks to the extra cooking options offered by the Frima and Rational appliances.” 
Frima VarioCooking Center

Winterhalter dishwasher, glasswasher and utensil washer helps St Mary’s maintain highest standards

The catering team at St Mary’s School in Ascot works hard to provide the girls with a high standard of cuisine, with an emphasis on healthy eating. When it was time to refurbish the kitchens they needed a complete warewash system capable of providing consistent results every day. “We wanted reliability,” says school bursar Giles Brand. “Our consultants recommended Winterhalter.” St Mary’s is now the owner of a suite of Winterhalter warewashers. A multi-tank rack (MTR) conveyor with input carousel and drying tunnel handles the crockery, while a utensil washer covers baking and gastronorm pans. Catering manager, Jacquelene Carrington, said: “Two people are able to load the machine and it takes half the time of our previous set up. It makes the whole process a breeze, with great results every time.” The drying module uses a special patented 'air knife' technology that leaves the items in perfect condition as they emerge. Combined with a longer exit path, giving extra time for the final evaporation process, the design allows crockery to be put back into use sooner. The MTR can be tailored to each site’s requirements and local conditions. An engineer can adjust the machine to take account of everything from the type of food on the menu to the hardness of the water and calibrate the machine accordingly. As St Mary’s is a boarding school, the catering department works seven days a week during term time. A Winterhalter utensil washer is used for larger items such as trays and racks, along with utensils used in the preparation of meals. A single-button operation makes it easy for staff to use, while the reversible wash arms give optimal surface coverage. A highly efficient quadruple filtration system ensures that water stays clean, while the self-cleaning system helps keep the machine in optimal condition.
Winterhalter warewashers at St Mary's
The school’s UC undercounter glasswasher is designed to reduce the consumption of water, power and chemicals in warewashing. The machine has a host of energy, water and chemical-saving features. For example, its rinse arm is designed to significantly reduce water consumption while achieving the highest standards of wash results. The water pressure is adjustable via the VarioPower control system. “All the Winterhalter machines are easy to use, and easy to keep clean” says Jacquelene, “And that gives us more time to focus on making sure the girls eat as well as they should.” Winterhalter provides a total solution for warewashing, from pre-sales advice to after-sales service, training and maintenance. T:  01908 359000 W: www.winterhalter.co.uk / www.winterhalter-scout.biz   [post_title] => Catering news: breakfast updates and new technology [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => catering-news-breakfast-updates-and-new-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-26 14:41:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-26 14:41:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2389 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2016-07-16 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-15 22:00:00 [post_content] => Ronan Harte of Holroyd Howe, one of the UK’s leading independent school caterers, has been named ‘Foodservice Caterer of the Year’ at the 2016 Cateys, held at London’s Grosvenor House this summer. The award, which is highly regarded in the foodservice industry, was presented to Ronan at the high-profile ceremony, which was attended by over 1,200 industry peers. The winners of the awards were selected by a panel of judges made up of experts from across the foodservice and hospitality industries. Ronan Harte, Managing Director, Holroyd Howe, said: “I am thrilled to have been chosen for this award. The award recognises the whole team’s hard work over the last year. We can go back to work today knowing our passion for providing the highest standards in school meals has been recognised on a national level. That really puts a smile on my face.” [post_title] => MD of Holroyd Howe wins top award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => md-of-holroyd-howe-wins-top-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-27 09:33:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-27 09:33:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2474 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-06-17 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-16 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

For budding young athletes and sports people, much attention is paid to what – and when – they’re eating. But now the spotlight is firmly on drinks following the campaign for a sugar tax, which was confirmed by government in the March budget for implementation in 2018. Sugary sweetened drinks, including sports drinks, are the biggest single source of sugar in children’s diets, so what are the alternatives? 

Kate Martin, Managing Partner at independent schools’ caterer, The Brookwood Partnership, explains their approach to sports nutrition:

“We follow general principles of healthy eating, encouraging consumption of reduced levels of saturated fats, healthy proteins with higher fibre and complex carbohydrates. A good daily diet keeps pupils healthy for general performance. 

“Adjusting the menus on days when we know the pupils are involved in sports activities ensures that the marginal gain is provided to help a team win. We do this by increasing the complex carbohydrates and promoting hydration.  

“We cater for some schools where elite training takes place and, in these organisations, we generally work with a specialist in sports nutrition who guides us specifically for the activities in question.”

Dehydration whilst taking part in physical activity can impair performance and cause unpleasant symptoms

Amy Roberts, Director of Nutrition and Food Development at Holroyd Howe, offers her top tips for young athletes.

What and when to drink before taking part in sport/exercise

It is essential that before we begin exercising we are hydrated. Dehydration whilst taking part in physical activity can impair performance and cause unpleasant symptoms if left to progressively get worse, such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and confusion.

As well as encouraging young athletes to drink six to eight glasses of fluids throughout the day, an extra preventive step would be to consume 150ml-200ml approximately 45 minutes before exercise. 

What and when to drink during sport/exercise

Once we start exercising, it is important to start in taking fluid as soon as possible. Aim to take regular sips every 10-15 minutes, of 75ml-100ml. For young athletes exercising at a moderate to high intensity for up to 90 minutes, they do not need to drink anything other than water (the body will use glucose and muscle glycogen as its energy source). After 90 minutes their body’s energy stores will be depleted and therefore providing more energy is necessary to continue performing at the same level. At this stage an isotonic sports drink can be beneficial, these types of sports drinks will provide carbohydrate for energy and will aid rehydration. A drink containing four to six grammes of sugars per 100ml may benefit their performance and help to postpone fatigue.

What and when to drink after taking part in sport/exercise

The sooner you start to replace lost fluid the better! Encourage young athletes to begin drinking fluids straight away after finishing exercise and to continue drinking until no longer thirsty and then to have an extra glass just to be sure. Professional athletes, to avoid dehydration, will weigh themselves before and after exercise. For every kilogram of body weight lost it should be replaced with 1.2l-1.5l of fluid (but not all at once).

Drinks to avoid

Hypertonic drinks should be avoided as they can reduce rehydration. Sugary fizzy drinks are an excellent example of a hypertonic drink. The fizziness can also cause the stomach to feel bloated which may become uncomfortable during exercise. Any drinks containing caffeine should also be avoided, as children are much more sensitive to caffeine and these drinks can cause the heart rate to increase.

Three alternatives to sugary drinks

Coconut water

Coconut oil and water have become popular among health enthusiasts, offering a health benefits like antioxidants, natural enzymes and naturally-occuring vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Hypertonic drinks should be avoided as they can reduce rehydration. Sugary fizzy drinks are an excellent example of a hypertonic drink

Watermelon water

We know how refreshing it is to eat fresh watermelon – so why not prepare a bottle of watermelon water? The fruit contains a number of electrolyte minerals, six times the amount in standard sports drinks. To make your own, combine watermelon flesh with lemon juice, mint and natural sweetener.

Healthy snacks

If your students need a pick-me-up, some solid foods such as bananas and raisins can benefit athletes as much as a drink, as well as providing fibre and antioxidants. Don’t forget to offer water alongside a snack to keep hydrated.

www.holroydehowe.com  

www.brookwoodpartnership.com 

[post_title] => Drink up! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => drink-up [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-15 10:01:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2476 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-06-15 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-14 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

The benefits of eating oily fish, especially for children and young people, have been well­ documented. But The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2014) concluded that consumption of oily fish was well below the UK recommendations of at least one portion (140g) per week across all age groups.

Why do we need it?

Oily fish contains Omega 3 & 6 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) –  also known as essential fatty acids. This means our body cannot produce them naturally and therefore they must be present in the foods we eat. Generally, Omega 3 is found in fish, while Omega 6 is found in grains and nuts. Modern diets tend to be too high in Omega 6 and too low in Omega 3.

Both Omega 3 and 6 PUFAs are important in preventing heart disease, but they are also needed for proper development of the brain.

Recommended amount

Adults should aim to have at least 250 mg/day of Omega 3 as part of their total daily fat intake. The recommended daily amount (RDA) can be met by eating fish at least twice a week, with one portion being oily fish. Omega 3 can also be found in vegetable oils, nuts, grains or seeds, however these are only ‘short chain’ Omega 3s. Oily fish include fresh and canned salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and fresh tuna.

Advice for school menus

Since 2006, School Food Standards have requested by law that schools in England have oily fish on the menu every three weeks. However, independent schools are not governed by the Standards so it is our responsibility to this sector to ensure children are provided with well­ balanced and nutritious menus. Our aim is to not just achieve the school food standards but to go above and beyond them.

We recently formed a partnership with the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour to revise our nutritional guidelines, focusing on the essential nutrients that affect brain development and behaviour in young people. These guidelines form a practical menu planning tool for chefs across our schools to use when creating their weekly menus. The guidelines recommend the frequency of food items on a weekly menu and try to ensure that food we should not be eating a lot of are restricted and foods we should be consuming more of are promoted. Within these guidelines we have recommended that oily fish should be on a lunch menu once a week, and once a week on a supper menu. This means we are proactively creating more opportunities for children to get their Omega 3 intake. 

W: www.holroydhowe.com 

[post_title] => On the menu: oily fish [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => on-the-menu-oily-fish [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-15 09:19:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2668 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2016-04-16 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-15 22:00:00 [post_content] => Independent school foodservice provider Holroyd Howe has announced a new collaboration with The Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour (IFBB). The IFBB is a charity that exists to improve the lives of individuals and communities by conducting research into the link between nutrition, behaviour and brain development whilst promoting public understanding and working to effect policy change. Holroyd Howe began working with the IFBB in 2015 to explore how scientific research could be translated into nutritional changes in school meals that could positively affect the development, health and behaviour of three to 18 year-olds. IFBB leads the way in understanding the effects of nutrition on brain development in children. The Institute will gain understanding of the practical application of their findings and how best to influence the health of pupils in the UK. This will also help them with their mission to influence parents and the government about changing eating habits and nutritional recommendations. Meanwhile, Holroyd Howe will have access to research and advice that can help them to shape the best food offering for their client schools, whilst educating both pupils and teachers about nutrition. Managing Director of Holroyd Howe, Ronan Harte, comments: “We are very excited about our collaboration with the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour and this will further cement our commitment to supporting the schools in maximising the health, academic and sporting performance and potential of every child.” The Holroyd Howe operations team will be drawing on the research and working with the IFBB’s scientists, supervised by the Chair of the IFBB Science Advisory Council, Professor John Stein. Amongst the IFBB advisory panel is renowned chef and presenter Rick Stein. Chief Executive of the IFBB, Dr Richard Marsh, says: 'Our relationship with Holroyd Howe gives us the opportunity to see how nearly 100 years of scientific research into the relationship between nutrition and neuroscience can be put into practice. We will be drawing on the results of this partnership in other strands of our work, looking to offer policy solutions to pressing problems that will be robust and effective.' www.holroydhowe.com [post_title] => Holroyd Howe teams up with IFBB [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => holroyd-howe-teams-up-with-ifbb [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-27 10:30:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-27 10:30:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3043 [post_author] => 39 [post_date] => 2015-12-04 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-03 23:00:00 [post_content] =>

Food service provider Holroyd Howe has announced its collaboration with The Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour (IFBB). The IFBB is a charity that exists to improve the lives of individuals and communities by conducting research into the link between; nutrition, behaviour and brain development, whilst promoting public understanding and working to effect policy change.  

Holroyd Howe began the partnership with the Institute in September 2015, exploring how scientific research could be translated into nutritional changes in school meals that could positively affect behaviour and health.  The relationship has been forged by Managing Director Ronan Harte and Operations Director Matthew Went. As part of their business vision they recognised how they might draw on the Institute’s scientific expertise and take the science out of the laboratory and into a practical and beneficial environment within the schools they serve.

The Holroyd Howe operations team will be drawing on the research and working with scientists supervised by the Chair of the IFBB Science Advisory Council, Professor John Stein.  Amongst the IFBB advisory panel is renowned Chef and Presenter Rick Stein.  The Institute’s Patron is Prue Leith.

Holroyd Howe believe this work is of paramount importance in bringing a more intelligent and informed approach to nutrition and food education. Holroyd Howe currently supports over 125 independent schools and colleges in the UK and serves over 12 million meals each year. The outcome of this research and advice will be used to impact the health and wellbeing and maximise academic performance of children aged between three and 18 years old. It is central to Holroyd Howe’s approach to engaging and educating children in a fun way through exploration of fresh natural foods via tasting tables, live chef demonstrations and the opportunity to get hands on cooking experiences. 

Managing Director Ronan Harte comments: “We are very excited about our collaboration with the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour and this will further cement our commitment to supporting the schools in maximising the health, academic and sporting performance and potential of every child. Nutrition and health through a well balanced diet continues to be at the heart of what we do at Holroyd Howe and this relationship will only ensure that we strengthen this key ingredient”. 

The IFBB is equally enthusiastic about the new partnership, Chief Executive, Dr Richard Marsh says: “Our relationship with Holroyd Howe gives us the opportunity to see how nearly 100 years of scientific research into the relationship between nutrition and neuroscience can be put into practice.  We will be drawing on the results of this partnership in other strands of our work looking to offer policy solutions to pressing problems that will be robust and effective.” 

www.ifbb.org.uk     

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As with many of the nation’s households, independent schools are already looking forward to the delicious dining heralded by December’s arrival. It is increasingly the case, however, that schools reflect their pupils’ diversity in the cuisine coming out of their kitchens, as chefs and catering staff enjoy free rein when it comes to a global recipe book.

Every culture has its traditions and over the year The Brookwood Partnership caters for a variety of events in November and December including Diwali, Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas.

By taking an inclusive approach, Brookwood likes to offer everyone the opportunity to have their own ‘taste of home’ as well as experience different traditions. As with most things, each event requires some explanation; many international pupils, for example, are intrigued by mince pies and crackers. Brookwood has also needed to be creative when it comes to Christmas desserts as many British pupils aren’t keen on the traditional Christmas pudding.

Education also works both ways. Who would have known that most American “moms” make pumpkin pie with tinned pumpkin? So catering for Thanksgiving means putting Brookwood’s fresh food policy to one side so that the most important celebration in the US calendar has a real taste of home.

This year’s Christmas dining at Essex’s Felsted School will have an international flavour.

With over 17 nationalities in its pupil body, the school’s chefs have chosen 12 of these to cook over the same number of days leading up to the end of term. The dozen days of feasting start with a Slovakian ‘Stedry den’ of battered carp and openkance (dough with poppy seeds and honey), moves onto Chinese sweet and sour pork and a Dutch Sinterklaas meal of gourmetten (mixed meat and fish grill) and poffertjes (baby pancake puffs), before taking in Brazilian codfish balls and Russian Christmas cookies, among other international delights, and a traditional English Christmas finale.

International celebrations at Felsted

General services manager Renee Hauret says: “Our chefs have really enjoyed putting these menus together – it has proved quite an educational talking point in the kitchen! Surprisingly, the ingredients have not proven too much of a challenge – so far we have managed to source them all locally.”

Caterers Holroyd Howe will be dishing up similarly diverse dining at King Edward’s School Witley where the pupil population spans 43 countries. From late November into December, festive fare from Spain, Mexico, Poland and Germany will be on the menu, with all dietary requirements on religious and lifestyle-choice grounds (such as vegan and vegetarian) catered for. Last year saw a beautiful full-size tasty gingerbread tree and a replica of King Edward’s in gingerbread displayed in the school’s dining room. Specialist catering is provided throughout the calendar too; occasions such as admissions day, Chinese New Year, Burns’ Night and Diwali are all celebrated with an array of suitably themed culinary delights.

ACS Cobham International School’s annual international fair celebrates the school’s multicultural identity, with pupils, parents, teachers and staff enjoying a variety of food, drink and traditions from every corner of the globe. The starting point for this year’s event was India, with pupils encouraged to play a traditional Indian game, dress in a sari, experiment with face paints and sample traditional Indian food. Highlights included a Scandinavian wintery booth and a Brazilian interactive rainforest and river, with new stalls in 2015 celebrating Poland and Uruguay.

ACS Cobham

Last time out at ACS Egham International School’s international fair guests joined in with Canadian and Swedish hockey, American football and baseball and traditional Hong Kong chopstick games and also saw a demonstration of Brazilian Capoeira. The ACS Egham community raised over £4,000 for Food4Lunch and StreetInvest: two charities supporting children who are on the streets or are vulnerable and not receiving nutritional meals in the school holidays.

The numbers make for impressive reading at Epsom College where Christmas preparations begin in October with the college’s chef preparing nut-free homemade mincemeat and Christmas puddings. By 1 December, when Christmas festivities and functions begin, he will have made 2,500 standard mince pies, 500 mini mince pies and 300 Christmas puddings, with the school buying 200 turkeys, making 5,000 pigs-in-blankets and preparing numerous sacks of potatoes.

Christmas at Epsom College

The catering staff decorate a 15-foot Christmas tree in the school’s main hall and a 10-foot Christmas tree is put in the dining room, while 3,000 crackers, 1,100 candy canes and 500 bags of chocolate coins will be consumed before school breaks up.

The school’s Christingle service with the college chaplain is followed by tea, the catering team dressing up as elves and the newest male team member given the job of Santa. For the pupils’ Christmas dinner, catering staff, house matrons and the facilities team (including the bursar and her PA) dress up to serve lunch and hand out crackers, candy canes and chocolate coins to all 1,100 pupils and teachers dining that day.

In December, Mayfield School will repeat the live crib cream tea for Old Cornelians and their families which it inaugurated in 2014. Last year, delicious homemade scones with jam and cream, mulled wine and beautifully made sandwiches were enjoyed by generations past and present in the Courtyard. Games, presents and sweets for the children were placed under the Christmas tree and Old Cornelians caught up with each other, former staff and baby Jesus (the son of an Old Cornelian) before his starring role. Following this festive feast, they and their children then enjoyed the 50-year-old tradition of live crib, a nativity which features a real donkey and baby and is organised and performed solely by the girls of Mayfield School.

As part of its festive celebrations, Handcross Park School holds a Christmas ball for boarders and a formal dinner for year-eight pupils, both of which reinforce the importance of the traditional good manners which are an important part of the school’s ethos.

The Boarders’ Ball is a formal, three-course dinner followed by a party to which all boarders (from year three to eight) are invited along with the boarding staff. The children enjoy the opportunity to socialise with the staff and other boarding community members in a festively decorated room. The three-course dinner for year eight pupils and their teaching staff is served in a candlelit dining space, with the children appreciating the sense of occasion. As a matter of course, the whole school also comes together for a traditional Christmas lunch.

As a boarding school, Westonbirt sees its kitchens as being at the heart of school life, with pupils and staff all eating food prepared on the site every day. In the build-up to Christmas, the school chefs are integral to the many festivities boarders and day pupils enjoy.

Westonbirt is an international community and the girls from cultures not celebrating Christmas enjoy immersing themselves in the school’s festivities

Westonbirt School’s annual Christmas party is a whole-school event when the magnificent Great Hall is decked with boughs of holly and staff and pupils are served a festive feast on banqueting tables under the twinkling lights of a 20ft Christmas tree.

In food and nutrition, girls work with the seasons and in November and December make traditional Christmas fayre, including mince pies with homemade mincemeat and Christmas puddings. The year-13 Leiths pupils have a competition to produce the most impressively decorated Christmas cake.

Westonbirt is an international community and the girls from cultures not celebrating Christmas enjoy immersing themselves in the school’s festivities. Likewise, local girls learn about the celebrations other cultures enjoy at this time of year. The American pupils host an annual Thanksgiving supper in December and Chinese pupils lead a celebration for Chinese New Year after the Christmas break.

Westonbirt's Great Hall

Food is central to all cultural identities and their holidays, events and customs; independent schools – and their hardworking kitchens – can be commended for broadening their pupils’ education through authentic catering.

The Brookwood Partnership W: www.brookwood-ptnrs.com

Felsted School W: www.felsted.org

KES Witley W: www.kesw.org

ACS W: www.acs-schools.com

Epsom College W: www.epsomcollege.org.uk

Mayfield School W: www.mayfieldgirls.org

Handcross Park School W: www.handcrossparkschool.co.uk

Westonbirt School W: www.westonbirt.org

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Sports come in all shapes and sizes, and school pupils are expected to compete in a wide range of stamina sports. This autumn term, the particular focus will be on rugby, hockey and cross country – all sports requiring some careful planning when it comes to nutritional intake.

Sports like these use up large amounts of energy and put the body under a degree of oxidative stress, which is the main cause of tissue degeneration. Energy is of course key to successful exercise – but a whole range of other nutrients are also needed to keep the body going, and to protect it from stress and injury.

In today’s snack-fuelled, on-the-go diet, we often don’t eat until we are hungry – which is more likely to induce cravings for high-sugar, calorific and fatty, instant-energy foods. The traditional system of three good meals is the ideal way to stabilise metabolism, as it keeps resources up rather than dealing with an unhealthy energy slump – but this is becoming less and less the norm. For example, a recent survey conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation as part of Healthy Eating Week 2015 showed that 24 per cent of secondary school children do not have breakfast, despite having a full understanding of its importance.

For optimum energy and performance, the perfect sports diet starts with regular intakes of foods that provide the nutrients your body needs to maintain and restore energy, and to rebuild and repair muscle and bone. Nature knows that we need to be active: so there is an abundance of stress-reducing, energy-giving nutrients in our most basic foods.

Found mainly in plant-based foods such as seeds and vegetables, antioxidants do exactly what they say on the tin: they dispose of oxidants generated by stress. Elsewhere, protein from the likes of meat, fish, pulses and eggs provides the building blocks of life, while essential fatty acids such as omega 3 also provide structure to tissue, as well as managing inflammation.

The perfect sports nutrition regime should be integral to your training. Success here, as elsewhere in sport, is all in the preparation. You are not going to succeed if you rely on last-minute quick fixes – those processed, refined energy boosters – just before, during or after sport. Stimulants such as refined sugar, fat, salt and caffeine may initially give you a high, but repeated shots of ‘empty-calorie’ energy without the back-up of a nutritionally dense diet can easily wear you out over time.

That’s why Holroyd Howe schools provide a varied menu including high-energy dishes on a day-to-day basis, so that pupils can cope with their demanding sporting schedules no matter what.

After all, it’s not just about winning one race – but completing a successful season on a high

Ronan Harte is Managing Director of independent school caterers Holroyd Howe.
✚Contact www.holroydhowe.com

 

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Holroyd Howe has extended the educational side of its catering provision with the launch of its street food concept, Uprooted Kitchen. A mobile team of development chefs roaming all client schools across the country, the Uprooted Kitchen offers demonstrations on international street food including Thai, Mexican and Vietnamese. This is in addition to their existing butchery, sushi-making, pasta-making and juicing demonstrations. 

An interactive food stand, the Uprooted Kitchen takes position in the corner of a school’s dining hall, where pupils can choose to come and watch, taste the food and learn how to make it themselves. The chefs are often also accompanied by local producers or farmers, who will demonstrate how to make sausages or fillet fish. 

Following on from the success of the food demonstrations Holroyd Howe has been running for a number of years, the Uprooted Kitchen offers more frequent, and a wider range of, demonstrations for schools. In time, this will also lead to offering Uprooted Kitchen options as alternatives to the core school meals at lunchtime, and pupils will be able to choose street food or fresh sushi as their main meal instead. 

Company Executive Chef, Damian Blake, who leads the Uprooted Kitchen and the Holroyd Howe Development Team comments: “Feeding pupils delicious, exciting food is obviously of utmost importance to us, but being able to also show them how to make it themselves is extremely rewarding. This interactive demonstration style seems to be increasingly popular with TV chefs and their audiences, and we’ve found pupils of all ages love to interact with food in this way. It’s also a great way for us to expand their knowledge of food and cookery.” 

Schools including St Paul’s School and Notre Dame in Cobham have so far experienced the Uprooted Kitchen. Many have chosen to include this type of food demonstration during lessons too, seeing food education as increasingly integral to the overall education of school pupils.

David Plummer, Principal of Notre Dame School, Cobham says: “The Uprooted Kitchen is a fantastic concept. The pupils really benefit from this type of lunchtime interaction with our chefs, and their peers. These are exactly the sort of long-term life-skills that go hand-in-hand with an all-round education in the independent school sector.”

www.holroydhowe.co.uk 

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Over the last few years, we have seen schools becoming increasingly concerned about the standards of food provision, with more and more choosing to outsource for the first time and many others wanting to find something different.  

Schools clearly now recognise that food plays a significant role in their overall offering. Parents are no longer just looking at the standards of academic and sporting facilities: school food is high up
on their checklist too. And more often than not, we find it is one of the first things that incoming Heads seek to address on joining  a new school.

One of the most important questions for our schools is: where does the food they are serving come from? Transparency in the food supply chain is top of the agenda not just for supermarkets and restaurants, but for schools as well. Knowing that your caterer has personal relationships with local, trusted suppliers who provide certified organic, sustainable or high-welfare foods relieves that pressure. The schools we work with genuinely care about the ingredients we are buying and the cooking methods we are using. Cooking from scratch using local, seasonal produce is a key focus for Holroyd Howe.

(Above) Ronan Harte

We also know that the environment which a school caterer creates can have a transformative effect on the pupils. Replacing an out-of-date dining hall with an efficient servery, stylish dining tables and chairs, and engaging décor that reflects the school’s ethos is a tangible change from which everyone at the school will benefit.

This space is one of the few where the whole school will gather together on a regular basis, and its look and feel will greatly impact on the whole dining experience. Whether you are a boarding school in need of a home-from-home feel, or a primary school wanting to create a fun, stimulating environment, the school caterer’s role is to help to achieve this.

However, the greatest responsibility of any modern school caterer is to inspire and educate pupils. With many children eating up to four daily meals at school, five (sometimes seven) days a week, for 14 years or more, school meals have a significant impact on their long-term understanding and enjoyment of food.

More than just chefs, our staff are often responsible for helping to educate pupils in food provenance, cookery, nutrition and even social etiquette all of which contribute to these young people’s overall personal development.

Basic needs

The three essentials for your school caterer shopping list, by Ronan Harte 

TRUST

We always tell our clients that we take the responsibility – but they retain sovereignty. In order to achieve that happy balance, you need to trust your caterers. This sense of trust should become apparent in the selection process.

If you and your staff interact well with the catering team, your expectations and deadlines for information are met, and the benefits of their proposals are tangible,  you are probably onto a good thing.

HEALTH & WELLBEING

It is well known that school food has a substantial impact on the health and wellbeing of pupils. Every good school caterer should have a well-thumbed manifesto on nutrition that they can share with you – so make sure that you ask to read it.

EXCITING, INSPIRING FOOD 

If your school wants to exceed expectations, the school food must do exactly that. It follows that the caterer needs to be offering meals and snacks that go far beyond the typical lasagnes and curries. Exceptional food is creative, exciting – and inspired by the world outside of school. Look for these qualities when reviewing menus – and, most importantly, make sure you taste what’s on offer!

Ronan Harte is Managing Director of independent school caterers Holroyd Howe.

www.holroydhowe.com

 

 

 

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There may be nothing new under the sun, but catering companies supplying independent schools are serving up some shiny innovations now the summer term is here. The reduction of food waste, the wish to offer older pupils a high-street-like food experience, the current popularity of baking and superfoods and a desire to celebrate overseas cuisine have featured or will feature in numerous tasty initiatives. It’s not surprising, then, that one company reports winning new contracts with schools seeking similar pupil engagement.

Children around the country will soon learn about eco-friendly food production thanks to an exciting initiative. “According to Wrap (the waste management experts) food waste can cost the education sector around £250m a year,” says Kate Martin, managing partner of the Brookwood Partnership. “As school caterers, we are continuously seeking out ways to lessen the impact we have on the environment. This is why we have a dedicated team to ensure we operate sustainably. Reducing food waste is an issue with which we can influence and educate our teams as well as the pupils. Next month, our on-site catering teams will engage pupils in our third annual Planet Matters Day. Held on the fifth of June in conjunction with World Environment Day, this company-wide activity provides the opportunity to promote and celebrate our environmental programmes. 

“We know children really care about their environment and that they can take small steps which can really make a difference. So, new for 2015, is our latest initiative against plate waste – Captain Wasteless. Developed for preparatory school pupils, and to continue the success of other waste initiatives, our award-winning superhero will help to promote a plate waste campaign and help educate young pupils. Having achieved a 47 percent reduction in food waste from other initiatives, we envisage that Captain Wasteless will increase this reduction further. Still only in its initial roll-out, the initiative is already having a positive impact with one site recording a 10 percent reduction in food costs and another school reporting a 41 percent reduction in waste.”

The rise of the sixth-form café continues to be a popular trend in catering for the independent schools sector, according to Kevin Hopper, general manager client services, independent education at Harrison Catering Services. “Harrison has refurbished and relaunched a number of these cafés in the last two years and several other schools we work with have plans to refurbish over the summer,” he said. “They have become a real focus for bursars and heads when considering new contracts because they offer a wide range of benefits. For students they give the sixth formers, who want to be treated more as adults, a place all their own where they can relax with their friends. This in turn allows the catering provider to introduce a food and beverage offer more like that which students experience on the high street. Sixth-form cafés can really mirror the high-street coffee culture, keeping the students on site, which many schools want to encourage.”

Kevin identifies benefits from sixth-form cafes accruing to schools. “They can help with retention as students move from year 11 into sixth form and also help schools keep pace with students’ changing tastes as they move toward university. Additionally, when dining space is at a premium, offering another service area can help reduce congestion. The café space can then also be used for different types of events outside of the school day, such as parents’ evenings and during summer schools, creating additional income streams, providing further funding for reinvestment in the food service or used to support other school activities. Finally, competition for prospective students remains stiff in the sector. Independent schools are competing against each other and top maintained schools and academies, so they seek to differentiate themselves in any way they can. A sixth-form café can be a real point of difference for a school when marketing itself to prospective parents and students.”

“Instilling a love of good food goes far beyond helping pupils to make healthy eating choices. It’s about engaging with them and involving them in the process towards a healthier and balanced diet,” says James Goodwin, Wilson Vale chef manager at the Mount School in York and current holder of Independent School Caterer of the Year in the Educatering Awards 2014.

Food is an integral and exciting part of daily life at the school, where James manages 17 staff and a busy catering operation for 400 pupils ranging in age from three to eighteen, including 100 boarders. For example, he holds regular bread-making workshops championing and supporting the Real Bread Campaign. Freshly baked focaccia, ciabatta, malted wholemeal, semi-sourdough, soda bread and many more breads now appear on the menu every day.

Similarly, a recent sushi workshop proved very popular, with Japanese dishes including salmon and vegetable rolls, spicy salmon rolls and salmon nigiri. Says James: “All our chefs across our 25 independent school contracts have been trained in real breading skills, sushi-making and many other craft skills, and everyone is encouraged to share them with pupils.”

Wilson Vale’s independent schools portfolio now represents 25 percent of the business, which employs 550 staff nationwide and has a projected turnover of £22m for 2015.

Food theatre, unusual ingredients and healthier fast food are all trends currently sweeping the dining halls in the independent school sector.

At contract caterer Holroyd Howe’s independent schools, there has been a sharp rise in demand for handmade grab-and-go options over the last few years, with sixth-form cafes and tuck shops revamped to offer healthier homemade snacks and drinks. This trend for healthier fast food is increasingly popular because it makes school food more accessible and enticing for pupils.

The trend continues into the dining hall, where vibrant salad bars are filled with superfoods, ancient grains such as quinoa and lean protein, and street food stations offer freshly cooked noodles, Vietnamese pho and grilled chicken kebabs. Offering such a wide variety of cuisines at each service also helps to address the needs of an increasing number of international students and of specific diets.

Independent school catering has also become increasingly influenced by restaurant and hotel culture, where presentation is as important as the quality of the food. More time is spent designing visually engaging food displays, and menus often include fine dining options such as duck breast with caramelised red onions and chocolate fondant with homemade ice cream.

Sodexo continues to go from strength to strength, winning several contracts in the last 12 months. In September it started providing catering and hospitality services to The Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton, Middlesex and in January began a five-year contract providing catering services at Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire. Rhiannon Wilkinson, headmistress of Wycombe Abbey, says: “Sodexo is committed to using healthy cooking practices, the promotion of a balanced diet and use of ingredients which are sustainably and ethically sourced. We are confident Sodexo will take Wycombe Abbey to new culinary heights.”

Sodexo’s catering is in safe hands, according to Jeremy Alderton, managing director, Independents by Sodexo. “Our chefs play a vital role in delivering great food every day to Independents by Sodexo customers and we are committed to developing their culinary skills. Chefs of all abilities have the chance to develop their skills through our craft-training programme, whether they are fully qualified, an apprentice or undergoing an NVQ. Chefs are supported centrally by expertise from Tom Allen, our executive head chef, who oversees the development of unique, seasonal menus that get children excited about food. Additionally, chefs benefit from training in our regional ‘innovation hubs’, where they can collaborate on new ideas.”

In other news, a three-week tour organised by Sodexo saw students at several UK independent schools, including Manchester’s Chethams School of Music, enjoy a traditional Swedish menu created by Swedish chef Daniel Leidstedt. Dishes included baked cod fillet with lemon, cress and horseradish; butter-fried cabbage with celery and egg sauce; and cured char (Arctic trout/salmon) with Jerusalem artichoke cream, trout roe, shiso cress and fried potato. The chef’s visit was part of Sodexo’s global chef exchange programme, now in its eighth year.

With new Ofsted guidelines promoting the importance of nutrition and wellbeing for children, school caterer Pabulum set out to examine what parents understand about key phrases surrounding health and nutrition.

Pabulum caters for many independent schools and recently commissioned a YouGov survey revealing that despite many years of campaigning, some key food and health terms are still misunderstood by UK adults. For instance, the research showed that when asked what the term ‘fresh’ implied, 49 percent of respondents said “bought from a local market in the morning”; 47 percent said “straight from the farm”; 40 percent thought “home grown” and 38 percent said “food prepared in the kitchen from raw ingredients such as meat, fish and vegetables”. Only 10 percent thought the word applied to items on meat and vegetable counters from a local, branded supermarket.

Pabulum, whose new menu includes 94 percent fresh produce, intend to react to the research, with managing director Nelson Williams saying: “Health education is a key part of what we do, and with 10 development chefs all working on creating fresh and healthy meals, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. We're working hard to create awareness with parents on our fresh ingredients and how we opt for quality ingredients. However, we recognise there is still more work to be done in the sector and we’ve put plans in place to help schools, pupils and their families.”

The Brookwood Partnership W: www.brookwood-ptnrs.com

Holroyd Howe W: www.holroydhowe.com

Sodexo W: www.independentsbysodexo.com

Harrison W: www.harrisoncatering.co.uk

Wilson Vale W: www.wilsonvale.co.uk

Pabulum W: www.pabulum-catering.co.uk

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How many of you remember lumpy semolina in all its glory – topped with a large dollop of synthetic strawberry jam, scooped out of a factory sized plastic tub? It really should have come with a warning and it might also bring back memories of Jam Roly Poly, liver and bacon, Smash potatoes, and Spam fritters.

This is what our school dinners consisted of 30 years ago and in some cases, even 10 years ago. A time when school meals were something to be feared and endured - perhaps even a family rite of passage. And whilst they may have been filling, their nourishment was dubious to say the least.

And soon this fear turned into joy, as chips, turkey twizzlers and potato smiley faces started to pop up at schools across the nation. But while many school children may have rejoiced, the reality of our school dining rooms turning into reproductions of the fast food restaurants that plague our streets had a devastating impact on our country’s overall health and wellbeing.

Our culture of eating went into cardiac arrest and needed some serious resuscitation. The good news is that things have really started to change in the last 10 years. But we’re not there yet. Health and wellbeing are still top of mind when it comes to any discussion around food. Not just in schools but at home and on our streets, and on a national level, I think we all know there is still work to do. And one thing I think we must be careful to remember is that even now, even as leaders in the education sector, we cannot predict the whole future.

So what I’d like to explore is the question of how we create a catering solution that results in healthy children, healthy businesses and a healthy future. And I’d like to share ways in which we should be structuring, and benefiting from, catering within our schools. 

Our healthy revolution

With the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution, we have seen the humble school dinner come under the media microscope, even in independent schools. And with headlines screaming of e-coli in schools and the horse meat scandal, the catering community at large has come under increasing scrutiny.

A really good school catering service, whether it’s run by a company like ours, or self-operated, will have a conscience about the food it serves. Traceability, locally-sourced, British, fresh, nutritious… These are all critical benchmarks of school food today.

But how many schools can say 100% confidently that they are serving local, fresh, British produce, with high nutritional value and total traceability? I’m sure none of your schools have been serving horse meat burgers over the last few years but let’s be honest, that is an extreme, and we cannot really judge ourselves by that standard. It really comes down to knowing that your eggs are free range, your milk is fresh, that your meat has high welfare standards, your fish is sustainably sourced, and that your vegetables have not been flown in from Kenya but grown with care by British farmers.

With so much to consider just in choosing ingredients, let alone the issues around health and safety and staff training, it’s no surprise that we are seeing a 40% increase in the number of schools outsourcing their catering. The pressure on you, and your long-suffering bursar, is undoubtedly at its highest! And someone has to be accountable. I imagine you would agree that this is a something you would all prefer to avoid…

Interestingly, at last year’s HMC conference, Head Master, Mark Turner, at Shrewsbury School told me that not only did his decision to bring us in remove the headaches of managing his catering, but more importantly, as a new head, it made him a hero in the eyes of his pupils.

And what about health in its most literal sense? We all know that fresh, nutritious meals will support the immune system and help to keep our pupils healthy. Sugar and salt content are also high on the agenda when it comes to healthy eating, as the levels of both in food in general has reached terrifying heights. And what’s truly amazing is that so many people don’t even know it’s there.

We recently launched a ‘Half-measures’ initiative that literally cuts in half the amount of sugar used in foods. In one school, we reduced weekly sugar consumption by 20 kilos. And have the pupils noticed? Are they queuing up at the kitchen door to complain? Of course not. They haven’t a clue. But we know, and the school knows, and the parents know. And bear in mind, we were already a low sugar and salt business to begin with.

These are the sort of changes that will help us keep pupils healthy, and ultimately ensure your school is providing the highest standards of health and wellbeing. 

And beyond all of that we must also consider the academic impact of healthy eating. Children with diets lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids tend not to perform academically, lack concentration, and have been cited to be more disruptive in the classroom.

In a school environment, concentration levels and energy levels are key, especially when we all know that sporting success is an important part of independent school life. With a full-on sporting calendar, children need to have the right fuel to maximise their efforts in the sporting arena. 

The importance of food education

I think you would all agree that a school’s main purpose is to prepare our young people for life after school. Both in the immediate, at university, and longer-term, in their careers. This preparation will undoubtedly cover academic learning, social skills, sporting ability (leading to team spirit) and self-discipline. But how much time is spent on preparing pupils for the landscape of food after school?

Well that landscape is pretty bleak. The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe, playing a close second to America on the global scale. Not a position we should relish. And the financial impact of obesity is estimated to become an additional £45 billion per year by 2050 with a seven-fold increase in NHS costs alone.

Well it’s hardly surprising in a country where fast food has become a lifestyle choice, packaging loopholes mean low-fat can mean higher sugar levels than full-fat, and clothing sizes have been increased to meet our ever-growing waistbands. Acceptance on that level is, in my view, utterly depressing.

The independent schools sector is responsible for producing many of the country’s leaders, decision makers, politicians, doctors and law-makers. So we find ourselves in the midst of a national (or should I say, global) health crisis, and without your schools giving your youngest the right start in life, with the right diet, food education, and cooking skills, we are sitting on a health, and social, time-bomb.

One thing I think we should all remember when talking about food in schools is that a pupil could spend up to 250 days school in a boarding environment each year. That means eating up to four meals a day there. Just think how many bad food habits these children and young adults could pick up in that time. And conversely, the many positive habits we could equip them with.

And this is where my role becomes really interesting. Because not only does a school catering team have the responsibility to feed its pupils, in my opinion it also has the responsibility to educate them about food. That is what makes a good school catering service excellent. And isn’t that what all of us are striving for? Excellence in everything, together.

Providing a nutritious meal for your pupils is no longer enough. We need to give them the skills to do it for themselves and instil a sense of responsibility in our young people. To make sure they are not reliant on pre-prepared foods, and understand the personal achievement of growing, cooking and feeding themselves and others.

But you can’t cook if you don’t know where food comes from. And you can’t feed yourself healthily if you can’t identify good food from bad.

I definitely believe that early intervention will affect later educational outcomes. Let me give you some examples of our experiences of implementing change in some of your schools.

With some, we have been building kitchen gardens and teaching even the youngest how to grow vegetables and herbs, as well as how to turn them into healthy meals. I was recently at Trinity School in the centre of Croydon that’s growing strawberries and herbs to use in their school meals.

We all know from our own experiences of school meals, however many years ago, that there is nothing worse than boiled-to-death cabbage. No wonder the last three or four generations have spent more money on pizza and ready meals than on fresh fruit and vegetables. When children are first eating vegetables and they not only taste delicious because they are well-cooked, but they also have the satisfaction of growing their own, “eating your greens” doesn’t seem to be such a hardship.

Other schools have really seen the benefit of cooking lessons for their pupils. When we first started running cookery lessons at one school, one of our chefs watched in amazement as a boy tried to peel a raw egg. He was 16 years old and had never cracked an egg. His mum can now rest assured that her son won’t be living on pot noodles when he makes his way to university.

Cooking lessons, gardening, farm visits, bake-offs, harvest festival… all of these things will help to educate your pupils about food and give them lasting life skills. 

Healthy children for a healthy business

These two areas certainly interconnect. September saw a new era for school food in the state sector with free meals for infants, cooking on the curriculum and new school food standards. 

With the rising pressures of government legislation on the state sector to provide healthy, nutritious meals for their pupils – coupled with the increase in the availability of free school meals – we see an increase in parents’ expectations.

Recently, a state run school in Manchester recruited two award-winning chefs to its catering department and is now offering a restaurant experience to its pupils!

And to emphasis this point, I refer to a study on what parents thought about school meals and the food chain, which was commissioned by the NFU during National School Meal Week late last year.

The stats say it all:

  • 76% of parents felt food should be sourced in Britain, wherever possible. 87% of them felt that at least half of the ingredients in British school meals should be procured from British farms.
  • Not only that, but 88% of parents thought it was very important that their children were taught about how food is produced on a farm, and where it comes from, as part of the school curriculum.

This just shows how the wider society’s attitude towards food in schools has shifted.

Independent schools are increasingly having to justify their fees, and demonstrate value in all areas, including the dining room, to keep up with the enormous changes currently in play in the state sector, and in an evermore competitive independent sector.

Here’s some food for thought. One independent school we met recently is seeing 20% of its pupils skipping supper in the school, instead choosing to visit local restaurants. That’s 20% of the school’s parents paying for meals their children aren’t eating. It also means no one can control what sort of food those children are eating.

Another school told us that a poll had revealed 72% of their pupils are currently dissatisfied with their school meals. Imagine the impact that’s having.

I think if any school thought 72% of their pupils were dissatisfied with the teaching standards or sporting facilities, big changes would be made very quickly!

I must quickly add - these are not schools we currently work with! 

And the catering department can’t be any different. Especially when it’s the second highest cost for a school.

I recently visited Dr Richard Maloney, at Bede's School, who has undertaken a major rejuvenation programme over the last 12 months across the school, from bringing us in to manage the catering, to new buildings and facilities. He now describes himself as Head Master, architect, design and head of DIY… I’m sure you can all empathise.

Anyway, my point is that, with all these changes, Richard believes the change that has made the biggest impact on his pupils has been fixing the food.

And when I’m talking about changes, these not only need to manifest themselves in the food we serve – for example, responding to the new allergen legislations.

But also in the way we serve it. And by that I mean the social experience of dining in independent schools.

We should never under-estimate the importance of our children eating meals together. For many nowadays, it may be the only time of day that they sit and eat as a group, with breakfast on the run and supper often taken in isolation from late-working mums and dads. When it comes to boarders, the dining hall should have a home-from-home feel, especially for your international pupils, who are so far from home.

And for our younger pupils in nursery and pre-prep, your school becomes responsible for instilling good social etiquette, teaching them how to hold their knives and forks properly, as well as key social skills. They are not learning from the school, they are learning from each other.

These skills create valuable social currency for your pupils. And really it all comes down to the culture and ethos of the dining room – a culture and ethos that is dictated by a school itself, and should be carried through by its catering team.

Moving into more obvious commercial waters, one of the last things I’d like to explore is the additional opportunities an excellent catering department presents, as more and more independent schools begin to extend their offering.

Sixth-form cafes, summer schools for international students, and conferences and weddings all provide additional revenue streams that will, in turn, allow schools to reinvest in those critical areas, like new school buildings and improved facilities. We know as well as you do that the costs for this type of development are extremely high, but the ends, in terms of your recruitment, can certainly justify the means. And with a catering team in place that you trust to deliver excellent standards of food, while taking full accountability for health and safety, food hygiene, and staffing, these extras become easier to deliver, and more profitable. 

A healthy future

So what will the future of independent schools look like when it comes to food?

The future of independent schools as a collective topic is increasingly interesting, but we have to consider the future of each independent school on an individual basis. And for me, that’s the way we are going to make sure that food is helping you all achieve a healthy future.

We have to work together to introduce changes that not only combat these issues of health and well-being, government legislation, and adding value for parents, but changes that suit your school’s specific needs. Regionality, school traditions and culture, your financial position, and specific pupil requirements, all dictate the type of catering service your school will benefit from.

However, the fundamental changes we need to make stay the same. Health and wellbeing, academic excellence and creating more commercial opportunities are the things every school strives for, and I hope you will agree with me that food plays a very important role in securing the healthy future we all want. Not least from a parent’s perspective, for whom we know that food is a key criteria when judging a school’s standards of pastoral care.

At the end of the day, schools have a responsibility to give your pupils the absolute best.

And remember, it is your school. No matter what you decide to do, self-operated or outsourced, you should retain sovereignty over one of your most important departments.

www.holroydhowe.co.uk

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Over the last decade or so, the humble school dinner has come under the microscope. Celebrity campaigns and political advocacy alike have meant that, when choosing schools for their children, food standards are high up on every parent’s checklist.

And it is easy to see why. Both anecdotal evidence and official studies continue to show a strong correlation between healthy eating and performance – academically, socially, and in the sporting arena. Children with diets lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids do not perform as well academically. They can also lack concentration, and have been cited to be more disruptive in the classroom.

With sport a key component of school life, schools have a duty to ensure that pupils have the necessary fuel to compete with gusto on the track or field. A healthy diet and good physical fitness are the cornerstones of a healthy life ahead. Globally, obesity is affecting nearly 30% of society, and as a result conditions such as diabetes, poor development, osteoporosis and iron deficiency are on the rise.

Food education in our schools now plays a key role in tackling this issue. Not only should our children be eating healthy meals, they must also be taught how to grow, source, prepare and cook healthy ingredients. This can be achieved by working more closely with local food producers and setting policy on ethical, sustainable and high welfare standards. All of these, in turn, require well-trained school catering teams.

This carefully balanced strategy will also encourage pupils to make positive choices of their own accord. Schools must provide more than just academic lessons: they must instil life lessons.

“Choosing ingredients that will slowly release energy is key to ensuring our pupils can perform on the sports field,” advises Damian Blake, Holroyd Howe’s Executive Chef. “Replacing carbohydrates like white rice and pasta with complex carbohydrates like wholemeal rice, or protein-based substitutes like quinoa, makes a huge difference. Adding handfuls of lentils, or other pulses, to soups and ragouts provides additional energy, as do good-quality cheese, eggs, meat and fish.”

Healthy hit list

Damian's ten top ingredients for healthy, delicious school catering

✔ Wholemeal pasta

✔ Quinoa

✔ Wholemeal breads

✔ Chunky soups

✔ Oats

✔ Sweet potato

✔ Pulses, such as lentils

✔ Honey, instead of sugar

✔ Chargrilled lean meat and fish

✔ Free-range eggs

W: www.holroydhowe.co.uk 

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Holroyd Howe is a British, owner-led, independent business specialising in independent school catering in the UK. Operating in 100 schools and colleges, providing fresh food, catering for all age groups, from pre-prep to sixth form, Founder, Nick Howe is passionate about food, developing people and encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit. As a result, the company has invested in Chef Academy, a culinary development programme for emerging talent within their business. 

Matt Potts, head chef at More House School, has been a student of Holroyd Howe’s Chef Academy since January. “The academy has given me the confidence, passion and skills to make a difference at my school,” he says, “and on the back of this I came up with the Cooking For Life and Half Measures concepts. Both are currently underway at More House School and will be rolled out nationally by Holroyd Howe. I recently left my part-time position as a lecturer and NVQ assessor for Surrey County Council. Despite thoroughly enjoying the role, I wanted to pursue my passion at More House to develop and run two new initiatives alongside the demonstrations and lessons I deliver to the younger pupils.”

Half Measures

Half Measures – the creation of menus and dishes using half the sugar content of the normal recipe – was launched by Matt Potts at More House School this term. Holroyd Howe takes its responsibility to feed independent minds very seriously and this is just another step in working closely with schools to tackle childhood obesity, without taking the fun out of food and still offering variety.

 “I do not think of it in terms of ‘saving’ but ‘avoiding’ pupils consuming 18-20kg of sugar weekly; the saving grace is that pupils haven’t even noticed! These ‘savings’ have come from our recipes alone – we have increased our selection of homemade cereals and taken away the sugary bought-in varieties. When putting together information on our Half Measures concept, I  was shocked to find Special K has the same sugar content as Coco Pops – it is just marketed differently.”

Matt is even getting pupils to eat their greens – even if they don’t know it. “By putting green leafy vegetables in our popular pasta sauces, we are instantly increasing the vegetable intake of our pupils and the nutritional benefits of even the simplest dish,” he says.

Cooking for Life

Cooking for Life began as an afterschool cookery club for boarders at More House School in June. “I have become increasingly frustrated that children are leaving school with no basic cooking skills, perhaps one of the most important life skills,” says Matt. “My big eye-opener came when teaching pupils how to make chocolate cake – one boy was tapping a raw egg and trying to peel it like you would with a hardboiled egg. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he had not cracked an egg before. He was 16.”

Holroyd Howe are grabbing the reins with this, with Matt acting as campaign leader and ambassador for the company. “I take eight to ten pupils each Tuesday evening,' he explains, “issue them with their own protective equipment and have a bank of carefully thought-out recipes including a balance of sweet and savoury dishes. I vary the preparation methods and cooking techniques for maximum exposure to train pupils in some of the life skills they need.”

Michelin chef and restaurateur John Campbell works with Holroyd Howe’s Chef Academy. He has taken a personal interest in Matt’s work and been impressed with what he has seen so far: “Matt’s drive and determination for such a wonderful game-changing initiative is a clear example of how you can make a difference to young people, if you have the desire and will – changing people’s lives with this healthy initiative gets my vote.”

Foodie feedback

These initiatives were highlighted and explained in detail to Ofsted inspectors by the school’s deputy head during a recent visit (the school received the grade ‘outstanding’, a rare award with Ofsted’s newly implemented extra high standards). The inspectors were clearly impressed with these activities. Sarah Secker-Barker, assistant to the headmaster of More House School, says: “The pupils are getting a huge amount from Cooking for Life. If they have no cookery skills and are trekking off to university, it is our responsibility to instil basic cooking skills – a skill set outside of academia. They enjoy being able to eat, taste and feel the end results, which are very tangible. I have posted photos on Facebook of the dishes prepared – parents love the foodie updates!”

www.holroydhowe.co.uk 

 

[post_title] => Know Howe [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => know_howe [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-10-31 15:12:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [20] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4484 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2014-09-26 09:26:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-26 07:26:00 [post_content] =>

Holroyd Howe – the UK’s only caterer to deliver fresh food services solely to the independent education sector – has announced two new senior appointments ahead of the new academic year. Chris Pearce has joined the team as operations director whilst Joseph Haji-Hannas has been recruited as a new account director.

Joining the team from BaxterStorey, the workplace catering provider under the same parent company, Chris brings with him a wealth of knowledge in overseeing the delivery of tailor-made catering solutions. Based in Eastbourne, Chris will now be responsible for enhancing Holroyd Howe’s offering in the south east of England, including those at Eastbourne College, Saint Ronan’s School and The Duke of York’s Royal Military School. His focus will be on ensuring his chef teams continue to provide balanced, exciting and creative food choices for school pupils and deliver a consistently high-quality service with added value.

Joseph, who returns to Holroyd Howe having fulfilled the role of operations manager from 2008-2012, will be responsible for clients based across the south of England and Greater London, including Eltham College and St Helen’s School in Northwood. With over 15 years’ experience in managing a diverse range of contracts within the business and education sectors, Joseph’s skills will enable him to identify new opportunities for his schools’ dining offering and ensure his clients’ needs are met and, importantly, far exceeded. 

Ronan Harte, managing director of Holroyd Howe, added: “We are delighted that our continued growth has led to the appointment of two new directors with such extensive skill sets. Chris and Joseph’s combined experience will enhance our existing ethos of excellence in leadership and maintain our leading ratio of management to schools – ensuring each of our schools receive continued dedicated support. Our strengthened team puts us in great shape for the academic year ahead.”

W: www.holroydhowe.com.uk

[post_title] => Caterer ups the ante [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => caterer_ups_the_ante [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-09-26 09:26:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [21] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4584 [post_author] => 17 [post_date] => 2014-08-07 11:06:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-07 09:06:00 [post_content] =>

With just a few months to go before the new allergens legislation launches, Holroyd Howe - the UK’s only caterer to deliver fresh food services solely to the independent education sector - is calling upon schools to take notice and prepare for the biggest change to their catering in recent years.

The new legislation requires all caterers to provide substantial information on 14 key allergens including gluten, milk, eggs and celery. Also, caterers can no longer state that they do not know if an allergen is present or that all produce could contain a certain ingredient.

Holroyd Howe’s call for greater industry awareness and preparation comes about after the revelation that many schools may not know the legislation is changing, nor may they fully understand the intricacies of the new rules. Many of these schools will need to make substantial changes to their operations and utilise new training practices in order to comply with the new legislation before it comes into force in December 2014.

With so many premises to cater for, Holroyd Howe has been up-skilling a task force of employees from across the country to become trained ‘Allergy Champions’. These 'Allergy Champions' are now delivering training across the network of schools to ensure that all employees are equipped for the introduction of the new legislation. The leading independent school caterer has also increased focus on its categories for each intolerance level which ranges from mild intolerances to red allergies that can trigger anaphylactic shock. For children suffering from these red allergies, Holroyd Howe makes arrangements to meet with each parent to discuss their child’s needs, educate staff and reassure families.

Ronan Harte, managing director of Holroyd Howe, said: “We have a lot of moral responsibility for the children we cater for. Unlike adults, they are not always aware of what they shouldn’t eat, so as their foodservice providers, it’s our responsibility to ensure we know and understand every child’s needs so that the right provisions of care are in place for them.

“Whilst the wider catering industry is geared up for the changes, self-operated schools may not have the same understanding of the changes ahead and need to react now in order to avoid fines or prosecution.”

www.holroydhowe.co.uk

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The issue of healthy eating has never been more important for education providers to be aware of. With the Government reporting that nearly a third of children aged two to 15 are overweight or obese, it’s vital that independent schools play an active role in educating the younger generation about having a balanced diet. But what are the best ways for them to do this and how are the attitudes of pupils changing as a result? 

A big responsibility

Deborah Homshaw is the Managing Director of CH&CO Independent, a specialist caterer that works across the independent education sector. She believes that her industry has a role to play in not just feeding children, but also in nurturing and inspiring positive relationships with food too. She said: “We should all take responsibility for ensuring our future generations learn the fundamentals of good eating and its benefits. It’s part of a child’s education and development, and an essential part of life.”

Dr Lisa Gatenby is a Registered Nutritionist at Healthwise Nutrition. As part of her role she helps independent schools with the menus they offer, and, as pupils spend a great deal of time at school, she believes it is a great place to help enforce healthy eating messages and provide a balanced diet too.

Commenting further, she said: “It’s so important that children get a healthy diet generally and independent schools therefore need to make sure that the food they offer is as healthy as it can be.

“They have the ability to choose their own food provision, but it is important this meets the nutritional needs of the pupils to ensure they can grow and develop as well as possible, making them as successful as they can be in their studies.”

Promoting healthy eating to pupils

Holroyd Howe is one of the UK’s leading contract caterers, and they provide food services to independent schools across the country. As part of their team they have two qualified nutritionists, who regularly go into schools such as St Paul’s School for boys to promote the importance of healthy eating to pupils.

Claire Long, Regional Managing Director, believes that it’s important to deliver this information in a short and snappy way in order to make it as engaging as possible, and said: “It’s so important to educate children at a young age by talking to them about good food. Independent schools need to educate pupils in a rounded way, not just academically, so that they can understand what good health and wellbeing is.” 

Dr Lisa Gatenby thinks that independent schools should spend more time explaining the difference between healthy and non-healthy options to pupils. In her experience, she has found that pupils may pick a cereal bar over a chocolate bar as they appear to be a healthier option, however, they can still contain a large amount of fat and sugar. Discussing this idea in more detail, she said: “Some pupils are keen to eat well to enhance their development or sporting abilities, however, they are not always choosing the correct food, and sometimes marketing and fancy food labels are all too attractive and pupils can easily misinterpret information. 

“We do have to consider that food is everywhere and snack food sales have increased dramatically, meaning that even a pupil trying to eat a healthy balanced diet can easily take in too many calories, fat and sugar.”

Pupils’ attitudes towards food

As today’s pupils have grown up in the digital age, Deborah Homshaw has seen them embrace wider choice and start to question what they eat, which means that independent schools need to be open and transparent about the sourcing of their ingredients. She said: “They have information at their fingertips and they understand the connection between food and health.”

Amy Roberts, Director of Nutrition and Food Development at Holroyd Howe, has recently worked with the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour, who have looked at the link between nutrition and the behaviour of pupils in schools. She thinks that although pupils today are naturally more educated about healthy eating than they have ever been before, it’s important for independent schools to look at things like brain development when it comes to considering their menu options.

Commenting further, she said: “Getting pupils to eat more fruits and vegetables is not the battle for independent schools anymore, instead the challenge now is taking nutrition to another level and encouraging them to eat more things like oily fish which can aid their concentration in lessons.” 

Deborah Homshaw has seen a growth in social sharing eating styles, which she thinks helps to remove peer pressure around what to eat and what not to eat, as well as encourage children to try new foods. In addition, she has also seen a rise in plant-based menus across independent schools. Discussing further, she said: “To ensure pupils choosing meat-free options or a vegan lifestyle get all their nutritional requirements, schools need to recognise and embrace this, and work in partnership with caterers and their nutritional experts to educate children and parents.”

Dr Lisa Gatenby worked with Hazelwood School in Surrey on their menu design. She says that although most schools work on a four-week cycle, Hazelwood School decided to write a new menu for every week in order to give pupils as much variety as possible. She added: “I think that offering a new menu every week is a really good way to make catering options appeal to children and it also keeps the work interesting for catering staff too.  

“Independent schools have more opportunity to be flexible than state schools, so I think they need to take more advantage of this with their menus.”

Case studies

Leweston School in Dorset is a day and boarding school with pupils who range in age from three months to 18 years. At lunch they offer a hot meat and vegetarian option, as well as soup, jacket potatoes, a salad bar, and fruit and yogurt, alongside other dessert options. In addition, they also have ‘hydration stations’ in the dining hall where water is available flavoured with fruit, herbs and cucumber, and jugs are also available on every table.

Discussing further, Marketing and Admissions Manager Claire Worsley said: “From a centralised perspective the catering team reduce salt and sugar where possible. Sweet treats are available but cakes, sauces and custards are made with less sugar or alternatives.

“There are also plans to increase pupil involvement in menu choices by introducing feedback opportunities, such as electronic lunchtime surveys or contributions via post-it note. The catering team also work hard to make the presentation visually attractive using boards, baskets, platters and crates.” 

The Eden School is a co-educational independent faith school in West London for children aged from two to 18. Since the school started in September 1995, they have been committed to promoting healthy eating. As part of this, pupils are not allowed to consume sweets, chocolates or fizzy drinks during the school day, and each Tuesday they receive a health presentation during morning assembly to raise awareness of the impact that certain foods can have on their body.

Commenting further, Head Teacher Laura Osei said: “Over the years, our rules have always been met with a degree of opposition from the pupils, but we have found that as we continue to educate our pupils and provide them with healthy alternatives, they are more likely to make better choices.

“Our nursery and reception pupils, for example, will always request fresh fruit as their snack. Parents have also reported that their children are now requesting healthy meals during the week instead of solely demanding junk food and even pointing out whether or not their parents are eating healthily.”

Portsmouth High School for girls in Hampshire are aware that healthy eating is proven to increase pupils’ concentration levels and understand the responsibility they have to educate pupils about making better meal choices during the school day. As part of this, they run a series of educational activities for pupils in their state-of-the-art food technology centre, which has workstations for 25 people.

 Elaborating on this, Lucinda Webb, Director of Communications, said: “We have food tech lessons from Years 7–9 which give a Level 2 B-Tech qualification. Sixth Form also have enrichment classes which include cooking and food preparation for university and beyond, and we also have cookery club available as a co-curricular activity which is open from Year 1 to Sixth Form. 

“In addition, through our Pupil Voice ambassadors we have a termly food forum where girls can directly feed back to the catering manager about their likes and requests for menus and discuss health options, packaging and choice.” 

Knowledge is power
Rory Larkin, Nutritional Business Partner at CH&CO Independent
“In our digital world of easily accessible – but often dubious, misleading and confusing – nutritional information, how can we get the right information to pupils and parents, and help them make healthy eating a way of life?
“The key is to empower people with correct and relevant knowledge, rather than telling them what to do. When people know the basic principles of nutrition they instantly have more options to eat healthily.
“A great way to achieve this is through workshops that engage children and parents, creating an environment where questions can be asked and realistic advice can be given in relation to government guidelines. Busy lifestyles and information overload can make healthy eating daunting, so it’s important to give people access to easy-to-digest, evidence-based facts. As children often ask questions that some adults may feel embarrassed to ask, working with children and parents together can have excellent outcomes.
“For those less willing to make positive changes to their diets, social norms messaging can be a fantastic tool. This subtly nudges an individual in a chosen direction in a way that makes them feel like they are making the decision, which makes new habits more likely.”
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Suppliers

Holroyd Howe

Tel: 0118 935 6707
What we do

Holroyd Howe is one of the UK’s leading contract caterers. We provide outstanding food services to independent schools and colleges

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