Social media object: Array ( [0] => Array ( [social_media_icon] => link [social_media_link] => http://www.brookwoodpartnership.com/ ) [1] => Array ( [social_media_icon] => twitter [social_media_link] => https://twitter.com/BrookwoodPtnrs ) [2] => Array ( [social_media_icon] => linkedin [social_media_link] => http://uk.linkedin.com/company/the-brookwood-partnership?trk=ppro_cprof ) )

URL: string(25) "the-brookwood-partnership"

Page object: WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14943 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2018-11-27 15:47:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-27 15:47:10 [post_content] => [post_title] => The Brookwood Partnership [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-brookwood-partnership [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-27 15:47:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-27 15:47:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://ie-today.co.uk/dashboard2/dashboard2/?post_type=marketplace&p=14943 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => marketplace [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )

News article object: WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [post_type] => Array ( [0] => post ) [post_status] => Array ( [0] => publish ) [posts_per_page] => -1 [orderby] => date [order] => DESC [tax_query] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [taxonomy] => post_tag [field] => slug [terms] => the-brookwood-partnership ) ) ) [query_vars] => Array ( [post_type] => Array ( [0] => post ) [post_status] => Array ( [0] => publish ) [posts_per_page] => -1 [orderby] => date [order] => DESC [tax_query] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [taxonomy] => post_tag [field] => slug [terms] => the-brookwood-partnership ) ) [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => 13297 [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [nopaging] => 1 [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => ) [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [taxonomy] => post_tag [terms] => Array ( [0] => the-brookwood-partnership ) [field] => slug [operator] => IN [include_children] => 1 ) ) [relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( [0] => ehieterm_relationships ) [queried_terms] => Array ( [post_tag] => Array ( [terms] => Array ( [0] => the-brookwood-partnership ) [field] => slug ) ) [primary_table] => ehieposts [primary_id_column] => ID ) [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [request] => SELECT ehieposts.* FROM ehieposts LEFT JOIN ehieterm_relationships ON (ehieposts.ID = ehieterm_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1 AND ( ehieterm_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (13297) ) AND ehieposts.post_type = 'post' AND ((ehieposts.post_status = 'publish')) GROUP BY ehieposts.ID ORDER BY ehieposts.menu_order, ehieposts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1177 [post_author] => 60 [post_date] => 2017-08-23 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-22 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

When running a large multi-site business such as Brookwood, competent leaders are an especially valuable resource. We need to trust that all of our employees at every level are managed effectively, whilst also accepting that it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. As such, cultivating dependable managers is vital to our day-to-day services. But this begs the question: what is an effective leader? And perhaps more importantly, how can we develop the skills they need?

I spoke to Graham Dixon, a management and leadership coach working within our group, to discuss this challenge. His year-long development programmes focus on raising self-awareness in managers, and an understanding of how a manager’s behaviour affects those who work for him or her. In a workplace now containing a vast variety of personal backgrounds, Graham says this kind of sensitivity is invaluable. He feels it is essential the delegates can transfer application of these ideas to their everyday work environment, encouraging learners to think actively about their own behaviours in their normal settings.

I completely agree with Graham on this. It has always been my belief that effective managers are created from a mixture of ‘theoretical’ knowledge about how to manage, and a thorough understanding of the work environment and people themselves: demonstrably, the best managers in my business are the result of both education and experience. It may be because the catering business is such a ‘hands-on’ industry but I am committed to developing leaders from within the business. This ensures managers have first-hand practical understanding of their work alongside the educational development they derive from off-the-job training.

We have some great examples of successes we’ve had due to this style of training. Aston Perera, for instance, began working with us as an evening chef in a large boarding school. Moving through several promotions, he eventually became general catering manager at a large international boarding school, where his extensive experience in kitchens, in tandem with our highly focused management training, has seen him successfully take control of a million pound business and manage a team of over 30 people. Similarly, Elaine Dachtler, who began with us as a kitchen porter, is now chef manager at one of our largest sites, running two kitchens and a café. Clearly, the investment in employees together with their commitment to their own development has a mutually beneficial impact.

So, in answer to my opening questions: evidently an effective manager for us is one who is knowledgeable about the work being done, but also supported by training and development of self-awareness and management techniques. I believe this is best achieved by doing as much as we can with our own people. 

Coming second in the Sunday Times’ ‘Best Companies to Work For’ in 2014 was one of my proudest moments, and I think our total commitment to development was a significant factor in our success. This has to become even more critical for businesses as government cutbacks and increasing university fees are continuing to bite. 

It allows all those who aspire to develop have the opportunity to do so, and the momentum of fresh talent constantly flowing through our business ensures the greatest opportunities are created for years to come. 

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of The Brookwood Partnership, the specialist independent schools caterer and part of CH&Co Group. 

[post_title] => Developing leaders in school catering [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => developing-leaders-in-school-catering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 10:19:03 [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 ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1437 [post_author] => 59 [post_date] => 2017-05-26 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

Exam time is in full swing with pupils (and teachers) having spent months preparing, studying and practising for these life-changing events. You could say that it is probably the first time that many of us experience stress. I can remember my maths teacher telling my friends and I, as we lined up outside the exam room, that it was all to do with being prepared and, if we’d done the work we had nothing to worry about. I am sure he was just trying to help, but it certainly increased our stress levels.

Helping pupils feel ‘relaxed’ whilst at school is something that we actively support our clients with. As education caterers, our role in this is to ensure the food on offer and the dining environments both give pupils the opportunity to take ‘time out’ from school activities and provide them with the necessary energy and nutrition to meet the demands of their day. One way in which we do this is to bring high-street influences to pupils, offering a wide range of food options as well as a place to sit and relax in their breaks, free periods or before or after school. In addition, offering older pupils the alternative of a lighter meal in a more relaxed environment, can be so useful in the stressful build-up to exams or an important sports fixture.

The modern pupil demands transparency, both in terms of nutrition, provenance and food preparation. Current food trends are also increasingly placing an emphasis on empowered health choices and simple, natural food. People want to know more about exactly what’s in their food, where it’s come from, how it’s been farmed, what allergens are in it, and so on. Our approach to this and the well-being of pupils differs depending on age group and gender. 

A child’s concerns about these things change as they get older. Even then, boys and girls tend to have different ideas about nutrition. 

We often see that younger children are interested in how their bodies work and the way that food fuels this. Young children have a wonder and excitement for science which tends to fade as they get older and become less interested in the miracles of the human body. We can, though, use their early interest to develop good habits and build a healthy body for the future. For example, our weekly interactive initiatives, such as ‘Fisherman Finn’, are accompanied by interesting facts and exciting dishes to try. Our theme days we encourage pupils to eat, think and learn at the same time. For senior pupils, our ‘Meat Free Days’, highlight the hidden proteins in vegetarian cuisine but also promote environmental activities, something we know they are interested in.  

As children enter their teens, some start to become less interested in nutrition and well-being as more personal concerns take over. They are at an age when they feel most invincible. Their diets, if they make a conscious decision, become a tool to achieve another, usually appearance-related, end. Where we do capture their attention is preparing them for life after school. 

For example, an aspect of our cookery class, known as ‘Beyond Beans’, teaches pupils to cook at least 10 simple dishes. 

When it comes to our services at boarding schools, we like to make the effort to spice up a boarder’s routine in the interest of general happiness and wellbeing. 

In addition, the social element of eating experiences is hugely important for developing teenagers, and for us all, for that matter. So providing them with a variety of engaging and exciting culinary experiences can make all the difference in making them feel this is the place they want to be.

Thinking back to the comments of my maths teacher, things were very different then and I am not even sure the word well-being was being bandied about. Thankfully I passed that exam and all the others too, but I am sure that the experiences we offer today’s pupils may well have reduced my nerves. 

W: brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => How can school caterers help pupils' well-being? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-can-school-caterers-help-pupils-well-being [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-24 11:24:50 [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 ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1517 [post_author] => 59 [post_date] => 2017-05-24 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

In my first office-based job I had a manual typewriter and a ‘Banda’ machine. An office worker under 45 wouldn’t even know what these are, but some kitchens still work with the catering equivalent technology. Today, there isn’t much where new technology doesn’t play a part; we don’t buy new cars or computers with 20-year-old technology. We take for granted how newer models make tasks easier, quicker or just better. The way we travel or communicate is immeasurably different – but does this apply to the way we expect chefs to cook?

In our commercial kitchens, the equipment’s life is longer than other work-based ‘tools’ – usually 8–10 years. A piece of catering equipment costs the same as a medium-sized car. Yet somehow attitudes to updating are different. A combination oven is still seen as something to aspire to – however, the technology of using steam and convection is not new. It cooks in two-thirds of the time, saving on power and wastage.

TV chefs show the use of technology being used in cooking. Sometimes seeming more for the laboratory than the kitchen. 

However, use of automation is now commonplace. We recently worked with one of our clients on a completely new-build kitchen and dining facility which featured last month in Independent Education Today. What a treat that was and how different to have a kitchen designed by caterers. One element we didn’t touch on in the article was the introduction of labour-saving appliances such as the combination kettle cooker/mixer. Something that is mostly used in commercial cake- and pastry-making but is finding its way into well-planned large-scale kitchens. It looks like a big fixed mixing bowl but stands alongside the cooking equipment. It is microprocessor controlled, has a paddle and can heat up or cool down. 

If making Bolognaise, an expensive chef stirs the onions and breaks up the mince, so that it doesn’t cook in lumps. Using this machine, the stirring is automatic so the chef can focus their skills elsewhere. If needed, it will even cool down the sauce which can then be safely stored for later. 

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of independent schools' caterer, The Brookwood Partnership, part of CH&Co Group

Do you often run out of mashed potato? The reason is that the process involves peeling and cooking large quantities of potatoes. Without a combi-oven means boiling enormous pans of water. Then transferring hot potatoes, in small batches, to a mixer to be mashed and ready for service. Our new equipment fills with water and boils. The operator presses the button which drains the water and sets to ‘mash’. 100kg of mashed potato all in the kettle and if need be, kept hot for service. 

Of course, they need to be bought, installed with power water and drainage. So, for most schools the time must be right. But given the shortage of skilled chefs, it doesn’t take long to justify labour-saving devices in financial terms. It just needs a fresh look at what we are doing and the way we are doing it.

A prediction that robotics can replace people at work seems to be resurrected every now and again. According to a report in the USA, ‘robots will eliminate 6% of all US jobs by 2021’. There are also trials taking place for deliveries by drones and driverless cars. I have yet to see a robot proposed to taste the gravy and custard, but it can’t be impossible. 

With the catering industry being such a ‘labour-intensive industry’, I can’t imagine that we will ‘employ’ robots, whilst we still require cooking to be an ‘art’. But then when producing those purple distinct smelling handouts on the Banda, who could have imagined where today’s classroom technology would have brought us... 

W: brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => State-of-the-art school catering with Brookwood [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => state-of-the-art-school-catering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-27 15:37:03 [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 ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1489 [post_author] => 59 [post_date] => 2017-05-12 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-11 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

CH&Co Group has retained its business certifications in quality management, environmental standards, energy management and health and safety across its portfolio of businesses.  

The Brookwood Partnership and ABsolutely Catering, which merged with CH&Co Group in July 2016, are now also included in the Group’s ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications.

The auditor was most impressed with the way CH&Co Group complies operationally with its management systems. He praised the competence of all employees and their excellent understanding of their roles within the business, and the detailed training provided to staff. He also highlighted that as well as embedding its management systems, the business has improved upon them. 

In addition, CH&Co Group has added ‘Safe Systems in Procurement’ (SSIP). This umbrella organisation facilitates mutual recognition between health and safety pre-qualification schemes and allows buyers to verify that a contractor holds valid safety certification.

We work very hard to ensure continual excellence operationally, environmentally and from a health and safety perspective -  Bill Toner, CH&Co Group’s CEO

CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner, said: “It’s very important for our business, our clients and our employees that we have robust management systems in place. We work very hard to ensure continual excellence operationally, environmentally and from a health and safety perspective. The fantastic results of this IMS audit together with our recent success in gaining a RoSPA Gold Award for our health and safety performance, confirms this and I congratulate everyone involved. 

“To have The Brookwood Partnership and ABsolutely Catering included in the certification in such a short space of time is great news and testament to the seamless way in which the merger has been embedded to create a strong team with a common purpose.”

[post_title] => CH&Co Group retains ISO certifications across estate [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => chco-group-retains-iso-certifications-across-estate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 11:47:27 [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 ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1676 [post_author] => 53 [post_date] => 2017-03-15 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-14 23:00:00 [post_content] =>

When I was at school, school dinners would fill me with an all-encompassing feeling of dread. I was a notoriously fussy eater and with only one option in my school canteen, I had no choice but to bring in a packed lunch. 

So, when The Brookwood Partnership invited me to visit Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls to find out about their catering, I was intrigued. I knew that school catering had drastically changed in the past decade but as I entered the school gates, I wondered whether they had managed to conquer fussy eaters too…

New beginnings 

“It was old and very tired,” said David Thompson, Bursar at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls (Habs Girls), when I asked how he would describe the previous school dining room. Looking around the dining room, I found it difficult to imagine anything but the bright and airy space in front of me. The new area, which was completed in November 2015, had clearly been designed with the pupils in mind. There are large tables and benches, instead of seats, so that the girls can all sit together easily. There is also a separate upstairs mezzanine café, so sixth formers can relax in a space that they share happily with staff and visitors. Technology even has its place in the new dining room, as the girls use biometric machines to seamlessly enter the food service area. 

“We had always had in-house catering, but one of the things that I realised when I joined the school in 2008 was that the specialism of the school was educating bright young girls, not producing food,” explained David. “It didn’t take me long to realise that we needed to go through a specialist firm to ensure the school’s catering was a success.” 

Consequently, once plans to develop the school dining room had been finalised, Habs Girls went out to competitive tender so they could find a specialist to help. The brief was to find a caterer that could help to design the new kitchen and dining area as well as also help the school whilst the new facility was being built. After an extensive research programme and tender process, the school chose Brookwood and they came on board in May 2013. 

“We chose Brookwood because their ethos is about being a genuine partnership as well as the fact they specialise only in independent school catering,” said David. “During the tender, I asked whose number I would have on speed dial and Brookwood’s Managing Partner said it would be hers. That was really important.”

Seasoned, not salted

Alongside a strong partnership, Habs Girls were keen to choose a company that would promote the importance of cooking fresh food onsite. The school’s ethos is to promote wellbeing and healthy eating, so it was essential that their catering company also had the same underlying philosophy about fresh food and ensured it was central to their catering service. Habs Girls identified with the fact that Brookwood always cooked fresh food onsite and found their innovative ideas to be a unique selling point. For example, Brookwood have a programme called ‘Halt the Salt’ which is where they don’t cook using salt and find alternatives to season their food. Brookwood are always looking for ways to make food healthier and cutting out salt is just one of the ways they do this. David and the team who were evaluating caterers which included girls, staff and governors, were impressed by these ideas, and felt it would help to move the school’s catering to the next level. 

Indeed, the school is now able to satisfy the majority of the needs of its diverse community as Brookwood provides daily options which will meet most ethical and religious needs. Through the different menus, Habs Girls celebrates the diversity of faiths at the school. 

“I think 80% of the food that we serve is now vegetarian,” said David. “Since Brookwood everything has changed; the variety, the depth and the nutrition and the fact we can incorporate more vegetarian food is all because of Brookwood. Vegetarian food is our main go-to for many cultures but making it varied and interesting is still a daily challenge.” 

At this point of the interview I couldn’t help but glance downstairs to see the girls tucking into their lunch. Aptly, the interview was taking place in the mezzanine café area of the dining room, and due to the open-plan design, I could easily see the day’s lunch menu. The girls’ lunch plates were filled with brightly coloured salad, fruit and falafel. 

Angela Tait, Catering Manager at Brookwood, is in charge of catering at Habs Girls and makes sure that every day the lunches run like clockwork, whilst meeting the pupils’ needs. 

“I think the first time we served quinoa all we heard was, “what’s that?” But now, they happily tuck into it,” said Angela. “It’s all about educating the pupils and giving them a choice at lunchtime.” 

Aside from making sure that over 900 students and over 200 staff members all enjoy their school lunch, which has the same choices for all, Angela also actively educates pupils by going into the classroom. She will hold cookery classes or talk to students about healthy snacking, as she is passionate about Brookwood always looking for opportunities to help the school. However, before the school lunches could even be served, Angela and her team offered their support as soon as they were hired by Habs Girls.

Time for change 

“There were many reasons for choosing Brookwood, but one of our key requirements was finding a company that could manage the temporary accommodation whilst the new dining area was being built,” explained David. “Due to our location, there is no high street for the girls to buy their lunch so we had to still feed them during the new building programme. During the pitch, Brookwood said that they would be able to manage the temporary dining room and make sure that the food was better so that more girls would eat it – and that happened! Now over 70% of the girls have a school lunch, in the past we were definitely not known for our food and the figure was less than 50%” 

The temporary dining room was in place for four-and-a-half terms, and as well as increasing lunch uptake during this period, Brookwood also managed to save the school an incredible cost. 

“When Brookwood came on board, we went on various site visits to look at how other schools and universities including Oxford and Cambridge Colleges had managed moving into temporary catering accommodation,” said David. “Through these visits, it became clear to me that if it worked for them then it would work for us. Also, one of
the big wins from Brookwood was a solution that meant we didn’t need to hire a temporary dining room. They said that we could use our main school hall to serve lunch and then they would turn around the service so that the hall could be used before and after lunch. This saved us a phenomenal amount of money.” 

By using the school’s main hall as a dining room, Habs Girls also saw an opportunity to bring staff and pupils closer together. Historically, staff would sit in a separate dining area, but with the new temporary accommodation everyone had to eat together. 

“Biddie O’Connor, the Headmistress, wanted them to eat together so that the girls could see that the staff are eating exactly the same food as them,” said David. “Staff and girls came together for the very first time in the temporary dining room and symbolically it was a very good change.” 

The new norm

Today, the temporary dining accommodation is a distant memory and the girls have now settled into their new space. It also shows no signs of aging, which is a testament to IID Architects, who completed the project and have now been nominated for the Building Design Awards for ‘School Architect of the Year’. 

“I think what’s happened is that we have now reached a new norm, so it is important that we keep moving forward with our ideas,” expressed David. “That’s why we set up a food committee with the girls so that they could give us their feedback on what they would like to be eating.” 

Brookwood have found this feedback to be invaluable as they continue to push the boundaries with the school catering at Habs Girls. Sue Parfett, Managing Partner at Brookwood, explained why they always strive for fresh ideas. 

“It’s all about taking it to the next level,” said Sue. “You are not just ending up in a very nice environment, it has to be more than that. It is especially important with teenagers as they have quite a low threshold of boredom so you have to keep them interested, and that is why the team at Brookwood has a real energy for new ideas.” 

“That is why we change the menus every half term, rather than termly,” added Angela. “There are staple favourites but other than a few core dishes, nothing is sacred. The menu adjusts with food trends so that the girls are always trying new things. We like to provide new ideas and then inspire the girls.” 

After my interview with David and Brookwood, I was offered the chance to taste the food that had inspired Habs Girls. As I made my selection, I was amazed by the variety of food on offer and even my peculiar taste buds were catered for. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Brookwood has increased lunch uptake at Habs Girls, as even fussy eaters like myself can enjoy freshly cooked food every day.  

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com  

www.habsgirls.org.uk 

[post_title] => Brookwood increases Habs Girls lunch uptake by 20% [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => Brookwood-increases-Habs-Girls-lunch-uptake-by-20 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-15 09:09:06 [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 ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1757 [post_author] => 53 [post_date] => 2017-02-18 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-17 23:00:00 [post_content] =>

I recently read an article about Public Health England (PHE) highlighting that children are consuming half their sugar intake at breakfast. This month, I have recruited the skills of our Nutritionist, Amanda Ursell, to find out more.

Amanda, I was shocked by this report. Is this true and how much sugar are children eating on average? 

According to PHE, children are eating more than 11g of sugar on average at breakfast alone, that’s nearly three sugarcubes. Most of this is coming from foods like sugary cereals, jams, chocolate spread and fruit juices. To put this into perspective, a child aged four to six has a daily target of less than 19g (or five sugarcubes) and those seven to 11, less than 24g, (or six cubes). This means that children in the lower age bracket were getting more than half their maximum added sugars for the day. 

As educators, we are always looking for ways to help improve the overall health and nutritional content of our menus. Our Beat The Sugar Beet® campaign has reduced sugar by up to 10% without children seeming to notice. However, simply removing popular sugary cereals at our boarding schools could cause complaints. How should we approach this ‘sticky’ issue, without alienating pupils?

As you say, imposing swaps overnight without any collaboration or explanation is not likely to boost your popularity among many pupils! However, engaging them and involving them in the process may prove a more acceptable way of introducing change. One way to do this could be to survey pupils, asking them if they enjoy porridge or lower-sugar cereals like Weetabix or Oatibix. If you get a positive response from most or some students, you can then communicate this in the dining room. People generally, children and teenagers included, like to feel they are doing something that others enjoy doing as well and, as caterers, we can use this instinct in a positive way to help guide pupils towards healthy changes in their food choices. 

Why do you ‘count’ pure fruit juices as part of a child’s added sugar for the day?

It may feel a little draconian, but young people now get the message that water is the healthiest drink. The reason for this advice is that when children, and adults for that matter, drink 150ml of orange juice, the 12g of sugars are considered to become ‘free’ sugars and, in effect, ‘added’. When we eat whole oranges, because the sugars are locked inside the cells of the fruit, they don’t count as they are absorbed more slowly due to the fibre. The best advice is to ensure that juice isn’t always available and serving sizes are kept to 150ml.

How can parents help to support our efforts to reduce sugar at breakfast, other meals and snack times in school?  

Parents can support messages and embrace the philosophy you are trying to embed at school within home life. I’m a big fan of the brand new Change4Life ‘Be Food Smart’ app. By scanning the barcodes of foods, children can see the amount of saturated fat, salt and sugar it contains in a child-friendly way. In addition, they can learn about appropriate portion sizes, healthy snack ideas and tips on meal planning. It’s a great educational tool and I like it because this app can be used at home to create a real family based approach and supports the messaging children receive at school. After all, whilst eating healthily at school will help, it has to be a whole-life approach to make the difference. 

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of independent schools’ caterer, The Brookwood Partnership. Amanda Ursell is Consultant Nutritionist for CH&Co Group, of which Brookwood is the group’s specialist education caterer.

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => How school caterers can help reduce children's sugar intake [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => How-school-caterers-can-help-reduce-childrens-sugar-intake [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-14 11:08:19 [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 ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1925 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-12-21 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 23:00:00 [post_content] =>

Professor Cary Cooper has come up with a term for what I have self-diagnosed; acute post-bank holiday syndrome. New Year’s resolutions already broken, a promised ‘dry’ January and a full inbox. The giddy optimistic new year plans quickly dull in January.

The TV channels fade from the glitter of Strictly Christmas Special to the political fall-out from last year. Usually we can look at politics with a degree of detached interest. We are used to our politicians hitting us with the latest version of what they think will create a better, safer world. But this year will be different. The proposals coming down the track will have a massive impact.

It is very frustrating when the ‘greater powers’ expect (or demand) one thing from employers but then, politics take over and we are expected to operate in systems that work against this achievement. I have recently experienced one such conflict that has made me very concerned for our collective futures.

I realise this isn’t applicable across the country, but there are some areas in the south-east where it is extremely difficult to fill jobs. One of these is an area near Guildford which has a number of pretty villages, low unemployment and limited public transport. Attracting employees to work in a lovely prep school ought to be easy. However, there is a lot on offer – including cash-in-hand linked to the many domestic-related jobs.

Migrants [...] generally do not receive, or expect, benefits so they want and need to work

Despite all these challenges we recently secured the services of a lovely lady. She was a good worker, looked smart, nice manner, loads of common sense and the children liked her. She was a keeper, and living locally, ideal for the post. But three weeks into the job she told us she had to leave. Why? She was going to be £60 a week worse off, with the deductions from her benefits and she just couldn’t afford to work. What?! Are we still saying that we would rather pay people, who want to work, to sit at home because they are better off? I would add, before all the doubters start shouting, that we already pay almost 15% more than the national living wage as well as a number of other benefits that fits with having been in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Employers list five times. Yet I am told time and time again that a significant proportion of applicants are only applying to comply with the terms of their benefits.

At a recent British Hospitality Association (BHA) meeting we discussed the future impact on employment post-Brexit. The BHA informed us that one of the key achievements the present government wants to deliver on is controlled migration. Any future visa arrangement is likely to hit hardest on unskilled jobs. It is easier to, politically, create restrictions here than, say, in those professions that require a high level of skills. So, according to the BHA, the potential outcome on the hospitality industry could be ‘catastrophic’. 

Many industries will be wanting to employ people from the same pool. Migrants, they told us, generally do not receive, or expect, benefits so they want and need to work. We employ a significant number of first generation immigrants, which is common in our industry. We have some fabulous long-term employees from this group who we have subsequently trained as chefs or progressed into management. (We have similarly developed more mature British-born employees who came out of our education system with few work skills). It is likely that those already here will be able to stay. But their money is now buying significantly fewer euros and the benefit of being in Britain has reduced. But, post Brexit, those moving back to their homeland, or elsewhere, will not be replaced.

And if that wasn’t enough, we face the apprenticeship levy in April. Another level of bureaucracy to deal with. I’m sure I will feel better after some leftover mince pies and those last few chocolates – purely for medicinal purposes!

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of independent schools’ caterer, The Brookwood Partnership, part of CH&Co Group.

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => Insight from the experts [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => insight-from-the-experts-1482226230 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 09:30:29 [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 ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1999 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-11-29 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-28 23:00:00 [post_content] =>

As education caterers, a lot of our time is spent ensuring pupils eat well. In today’s world the requirements of the education caterer do not stop there. Parents, of course, have a significant role in the education of their young children. This applies more so to food. So, parental communication ensures our role in their child’s development is embraced by everyone involved. After all,
a parent may not comment on a maths or history lesson but everyone has something to say about lunch. 

During a recent school visit, I noticed there were more than just pupils in the dining room at lunchtime. This was because, with the school, we had invited parents to dine with their children. This initiative, which we call ‘Come Lunch With Me’, allows parents and guardians to see what our catering looks like in a day-to-day context, and answer their questions. We know that parents receive frequent and well-planned updates regarding their children’s academic progress. Most have easy contact with those responsible for their pastoral care and wellbeing. However, an area where such specific information is difficult to analyse is catering. Yet we know it is so important to the future of our children and our country. What would be made of a school that was given a grade C in eating? We also know that the attention span of young children can often mean that they ‘forget’ about what they had for lunch. I recall overhearing a discussion at the end of school; a young pupil telling her mum that she had eaten chicken nuggets when the menu had been lasagne. Others can say they didn’t enjoy lunch if they have learnt this can mean a burger after school. Engaging parents in this way can help give them access to as much information about their child’s food as they wish, and ultimately try some too.

 

School caterers should meet with parents to discuss menus and any dietary requirements their child may have. We find parents, particularly of young children, are encouraged by these face-to-face meetings. They help instill confidence in both parents and school, that all their child’s needs are being catered for. Keen that every pupil eats well, we will work with parents to identify which food types work for all. We also use online methods to communicate to parents about what their child is eating. Menus are available via schools’ websites so that they can see what is on the menu three weeks in advance. 

Involving parents has more value than just keeping them happy, the work we do towards educating pupils about healthy eating can be followed up at home. This is why the majority of our education initiatives have an element to engage parents.

For example, pupils who have created a smoothie on our smoothie bike receive recipes to take home. Our assemblies are also tailored to continue learning at home too. Following a recent healthy eating assembly, one parent contacted the school to say how impressed they were that their 10-year-old had checked all the ingredients in their kitchen cupboards to see which items were the heathier options.  

The pupil, the school, and even the country benefits when children are eating well. We are fortunate to be in a situation where this can happen, and so we should do our utmost to ensure it does. Everyone has a part to play; and working together is the most powerful energy.

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of independent schools' caterer, The Brookwood Partnership, part of the CH&Co Group

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => Insight from the experts [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => insight-from-the-experts-1479300261 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-16 12:44:20 [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 ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2088 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-10-28 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-27 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

As mentioned in last month’s article, my food at school sometimes was pretty awful. Of course things are very different nowadays. What is the same, however, is how our relationship with food changes as we grow up. I, along with my school friends, often discussed what we ate, how much we ate and when we ate. The same, I am sure, can be said about every generation after us. But perhaps, it is more prominent for what is known as Generation Z – or Gen Z if you are nearer that age group than me!

Born just before the millennium, Gen Z has grown up with all information and communication by screen. They only know financial turmoil and care about traditional values; watching their money and valuing the environment. They toddled around coffee shops and restaurants with their parents and are concerned about their impact on the world.

On a recent visit to St. Catherine’s School in Twickenham, a girls’ school with pupils aged from 3 to 18, we spoke to a number of pupils about their food. We talked about how the high street can influence their choices when it comes to the food they like. And of course, the high street is a lot different now to what was available in my day. So it got me thinking about how this generation presents a new dynamic in terms of how they respond to everyday life. They are ever more discerning and conscious about the world around them.

At Brookwood, our approach has always been to ensure pupils develop a healthy relationship with food, and this goes for both boys and girls. Senior pupils want to take control of what they eat and have a say about what they would like to see on the menu. Like many schools, a food committee meets with the catering team to discuss the food and future menu ideas. Lunch today comprised three types of fish and I was delighted to hear that the girls were saying what they had, was equivalent to what they would experience at well-known high-street restaurants.

It's becoming widely recognised that different ages and genders respond differently to food types

With Gen Z growing up, there is a need for us as caterers to change with them. A group of sixth formers told me how having a choice of a light bite, something to grab and go, or a main meal ensured that everyone was being catered for and it met their needs as to their studies or sports activities that day.

Talking to Headmistress, Sister Paula Thomas, about their sports activities, she told me: “Some of our girls are rowing on the river up to six times a week, it is essential that they get the energy and nutrition needed for their stamina. The girls really welcome the opportunity to talk to the catering team about the food – this often includes what they’ve seen on the high street.”

It is becoming well recognised that different age groups and genders respond to food differently. That as they grow, their needs and wants in regards to food change. Younger pupils need an assisted lunch with plainer food. This helps to ensure they are getting a nutritious lunch and foods they recognise. Subtle things like placing individual elements on a plate also helps with a slow introduction to new food, textures and tastes. In addition, linking in with the school’s PSHE lessons helps to connect their learning to their eating.  

After my visit, I drove through the town centre and pondered what the high street will be like when the young girls I met today are sixth formers. As always, trends will evolve. Our role, I am sure, will become more educational and assist with performance in class and on the sports field – it might just be presented differently.

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of independent schools' caterer, The Brookwood Partnership, part of CH&Co Group

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => Insight from the experts [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => insight-from-the-experts-1476783763 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-18 10:42:42 [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] => 2089 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-10-27 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-26 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

When your childhood dream is to become a Polar explorer and you’ve been inspired by stories of Shackleton and Scott, it wouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone if it remained just that: a dream. But for Olivier Hubert, Executive Chef at St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon, that ambition is about to become reality. This month, Olivier embarks on a six-month expedition to join the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) as part of their catering team at Antarctica’s Halley VI Research Station.

Olivier Hubert, St Helen and St Katherine

“It was only at my first induction training at BAS HQ in Cambridge that it really hit home,” says Olivier. “I will fly to Cape Town, and from there to Antarctica, coming into Halley via the Russian and German bases. Setting foot on the continent I have always dreamed of visiting will be an emotional experience – but getting to grips with the realities of everyday cooking challenges such as melting water from the surrounding snow and waiting for fresh food deliveries will bring me down to earth. But my passion is for cooking the very best food possible, so whether it is for 700 girls at our school in Abingdon or a great collaborative team of 100 scientists, specialists and support staff in Antarctica, I will do my very best.”

Inspired by the scientific work of the BAS and with the blessing of his family and the school, Olivier applied for the position in January and was selected from over 100 shortlisted applicants to support Halley as it is moved to its new site in the coming months. 

Halley VI is, along with Rothera, one of two research stations based on the continent of Antarctica itself (a further three are based in the sub-Antarctic). Perched on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Halley VI is the world’s first re-locatable research facility. Made up of a series of eight interlinked pods built on skis, it can be towed into a new position by specialist heavy vehicles if the ice shifts.

British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI base

“We are extremely excited and proud of Olivier,” enthuses Head Rebecca Dougall. “His pursuit of a dream, going so far out of his comfort zone and challenging himself in such extreme conditions is a wonderful example of the kind of attitude that we instil in our students here at school. 

We are hugely looking forward to sharing his polar culinary adventures with live phone links, social media posts and insights into the globally important environmental research that BAS undertakes.”

For leading education caterers The Brookwood Partnership, Christmas Day at clients Westminster Abbey Choir School is a rather special occasion. “We can often hear the boys practising the carols and their excitement as they open their presents in the dining rooms,” enthuses Sue Frayn, Brookwood’s Managing Director of Operations. “With the televised traditional Christmas service and an evening of concerts, our catering team are on-hand to ensure the choristers and guests also get to enjoy a Christmas lunch.

Westminster Abbey Choir School

“We start with a canapé reception for around 80 people, which includes the choristers, teachers and guests. This is followed by a traditional Christmas lunch. Timing is always crucial as the choristers have to be ready to sing for all the day’s events. With the boys being away from home, for what most of us spend with our families, our team will go out of their way to ensure the choristers have a Christmas to remember. Recently one of our chefs created a gingerbread cake in the model of the Abbey which the boys and guests thoroughly enjoyed – many of them said it seemed a shame to eat it. 

When planning the menu for the day, Brookwood work closely with the school and choir master to ascertain what is required of the boys during the day – and how their catering should respond. “We do this to ensure that we are providing all the traditional favourites in a balanced meal that will also help the boys maintain their energy levels,” Sue explains. “One of our highlights from ‘Christmas at the Abbey’ is after dinner, when several of the adult choristers entertain the guests and sing a thank you to the catering team – it certainly makes our Christmas Day!”

Also taking on new challenges in the catering field is Harrison Catering Service, which has seen educational catering change dramatically since its formation in 1994. “The independent schools sector delivers a world-class education to a global audience with a diverse range of culinary tastes,” acknowledges Mark Stower, Harrison’s Director of Food and Service.

“The role of a food service provider is constantly changing,” Mark continues. “Within the educational sector it’s really important to help students settle into their new surroundings and Harrison sees food, wellbeing and nutrition as important aspects of the all-round pastoral care package provided by independent schools. Research forms a big part of my role and learning about different cultures, regions and trends is key to good menu creation. 

Fresh food inspirations from Harrison Catering

As Mark explains, students’ dietary habits can be heavily influenced by a number of factors, with culture and origin no longer the sole determinants. “One of the first things I look at when I’m creating a new menu is a map to see exactly what part of the world the student population is arriving from. Flavour preferences and use of herbs and spices is just the tip of the iceberg: how meat is cooked, and whether it is served on or off the bone, also has to be considered.” 

The explosion in sharing of food recipes and imagery via Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels has played a big part in diversifying palates. “People can instantly share images and video footage of their favourite foods from all over the world, and food bloggers can shape not just what we eat but how we eat it. These factors all give rise to an ever-increasing sophistication in students’ palates.

“Street foods are also becoming increasingly popular and pop-up street stalls offer all sorts of food from around the globe. Our chefs enjoy embracing these new food trends: we make all our sauces from scratch and ensure we use the correct ingredients, however exotic, to create our fresh pastes and sauces. All these environmental influencers impact our hospitality offerings too. I’ve recently catered for a party of visitors from Morocco and they were delighted that I was able to serve mint teas and hot pomegranate juice in chai cups. It’s the attention to detail that counts.” What’s more, winter provides Mark and his teams with the perfect opportunity to create some real show-stoppers. “We eat traditional winter foods without really thinking about their origin – stollen from Austria, traditional gingerbread houses from Germany, and mince pies from the Middle East from where crusaders brought recipes over to Europe containing meats, fruits and spices. 

“Our chefs produce a huge range of foods and have engaged with their students in the creation of recipes and menus. It just goes to show that traditional British foods are constantly evolving as diets become more eclectic with the diversifying and increasing availability of cuisines from around the globe. These are exciting times for the food industry, and at Harrison we value these new challenges.” 

Contacts

www.shsk.org.uk

www.bas.ac.uk

www.brookwoodpartnership.com

www.harrisoncatering.co.uk

[post_title] => Winter fuel [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => winter-fuel [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-18 10:18:33 [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] => 2091 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-10-26 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

We all know that we need to cut back on sugar, but this isn’t always easy, not least because ‘sugar’ comes in many forms and can sometimes be hidden away.

Taking sugar seriously is important because while our children may look fine on the outside, eating and drinking too much can lead to tooth decay as well as to the build-up of harmful fats on the insides of their bodies, where we can’t see it. Fat stored around vital organs, even in childhood and teenage years is a problem as it can lead to serious diseases like weight gain, type two diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. All in all, getting sugar-wise is important not just for the immediate health and wellbeing of our children, but also for their future.

What are added and free sugars?

It’s easy to see the amount of white or brown table sugar that we add into drinks or sprinkle onto breakfast cereals. It’s less easy to gauge what is incorporated into sweets, cakes, biscuits, puddings and drinks or even savoury soups and pasta sauces. The same is true for the so-called ‘free’ sugars which are present in honey, agave and coconut nectar, molasses, syrup or treacle, to name
a few.

The bottom line is that these all count towards your daily sugar totals. So too do the sugars found naturally present in fruit juices, even if they are freshly squeezed.

How much should we aim for?  

People in all age groups are managing to chomp and drink their way through more of these sugars than the government advise. The recommendations that came out last year say we should not make up more than 5% of our daily calories from these sugars.

From age 11, this means limiting our free and added sugars to 30g a day. This is equivalent to seven cubes or seven (4g) teaspoons of white or brown table sugar. For children aged 7–10, it is 24g of sugar a day maximum. This amounts to the equivalent of six cubes or teaspoons. For children from 4–6 years the maximum is 19g or five cubes or teaspoons.

When you consider that a can of fizzy drink can contain nine teaspoons of sugar or more, chilled desserts four teaspoons and muffins five teaspoons plus, you can easily see how sugar intakes can quickly stack up.

Amanda Ursell, Consultant Nutritionist for CH&Co Group of which The Brookwood Partnership is the group's specialist education caterer

What about the sugars in milk and fruit?

The sugar in milk is called lactose and is found in cappuccinos, lattes and yoghurts for instance. Lactose does not count towards your daily sugar totals. Nor does the fructose or fruit sugar as it is often also called, found in whole fresh fruit and dried fruits. This means that the fruit sugars in apples, oranges and bananas along with sultanas and dried apricots, do not count towards your daily total.

Once you squeeze fresh fruit into a juice, the sugars do count. The good news though is that when drunk at mealtimes in a 150ml serving, pure fruit juice counts as one serving of fruit and vegetables for the day, so it doesn’t need to be banned, just carefully controlled.

How to keep tabs on sugar intake?

Food labels often use red, amber and green coding to tell us how much fat, sugar and salt is in a portion of food or drink. Glancing at these labels before buying can be a great way of reducing sugar-rich items from your children’s food – if you buy mostly products with a green for sugar.

If there are no ‘traffic light’ symbols, you can also look for how many grams of sugar they contain per 100 grams. A food with more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g is considered to be ‘high’ in sugar while those with less than 5g per 100g are ‘low’.

Sugar by a different name  

And when all else fails, ingredients labels can often give you a great insight into the sugar lurking in foods and drinks. Keep your eyes peeled, because as well as cane sugar, honey and nectars, there are lots of other different words including high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, crystalline sucrose and corn sugar.

Weaning children away from sugar-rich foods and drinks isn’t necessarily easy and can take time and perseverance. Both are worth the effort. By changing taste preferences now you can help your child develop habits that will last them a lifetime. 

[post_title] => HOT TOPIC: cutting back on sugar [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => hot-topic-cutting-back-on-sugar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-18 09:52:35 [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 ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2231 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-09-15 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-14 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

I recently took a long-haul flight to Australia which, as I am sure is the same for most people, I found a struggle. The times I felt most active were when the meal trolley turned up. This got me thinking about how the monotony of routine or only seeing the same four walls (well clouds through airline windows) can create boredom and restlessness. As such, I started to think about how, as caterers, we need to keep boarders happy and engaged, through their food during their long runs of being away from home. I was only ‘stuck’ for 24 hours but I am sure that the same sort of feeling can often be faced by any boarder.  

Taste can be one of the most reminiscent senses, and many people tend to associate happy memories with food. Now being of more mature years, when meeting up with old school pals, we often recall school food harking back to loves and hates. There are many dishes that we all think of fondly – but some dishes that used to make us gag. And, we can all agree that the importance of food and the choices available to pupils are a stratosphere away from our 70s experience. Ensuring variety and excitement in the kitchen can play a vital role in ‘keeping up morale’.

Themed food nights such as 'Saturday night takeaway' provide an opportunity for socialising

We like to make the effort to spice up a boarder’s routine in the interest of general happiness and wellbeing. In addition, the social element of eating experiences is hugely important for developing teenagers and, for us all for that matter. So providing them with a variety of engaging and exciting culinary experiences can make all the difference in making them feel this is the place they want to be.

Schools in very remote locations make the compulsion of being on site even more significant. It is therefore, vital to make that experience as varied, engaging, and up-to-date with high street trends as possible. There are several ways this can be replicated. One is to provide food which boarders might be expected to eat if they were at home. Popular British staples and traditions are always welcomed.  Sunday roasts, Saturday night ‘take-aways’ and BBQs (when the sun is out) can provide not only a sense of homeliness and comfort for boarders, but also they give a focal point for socialising, forgetting they are at school. In addition, engaging pupils in the preparation of the meal can help bring ‘home’ to school. This is fun at all ages but particularly when they learn new skills, like how to make sushi.

Traditional meals can invoke feelings of comfort and homeliness

It’s important to ‘mix things up’ and provide experiences which are more unusual and out-of-the-ordinary. Any theme days for specific events of the year such as Diwali or Chinese New Year are always popular. They can be especially engaging for international boarders if they are involved in preparing the meals. Equally other initiatives like live-theatre, sharing platters and pop-up street-food-style counters never fail to excite.

Although we can’t speed up time or change the physical environment, we can develop creative spaces and use food to invoke memories for our pupils of being at home or another favourite destination. So in 2056, when the current generation are meeting up on reunions, they will be discussing the food at school with fondness and not the tinned pilchards and salad that still fills me with horror. 

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of the education caterer, The Brookwood Partnership.

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => Insight from the experts [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => insight-from-the-experts-1473755040 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-13 09:23:59 [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 ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2382 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2016-07-15 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-14 22:00:00 [post_content] => Leading independent education caterer, The Brookwood Partnership has merged with CH&Co Group to become specialist education brands within the Group. Brookwood’s co-founders, Kate Martin and Sue Parfett, will continue in their current roles as Managing Partners. The merger gives the newly enlarged Group a turnover in excess of £200m and its associated brands will provide catering at over 600 sites across the UK, employing nearly 6,000 in its team. The education catering marketplace has become increasingly competitive and for Brookwood, merging their assets and team with a larger, well-respected independent company like CH&Co Group provides them with the perfect opportunity to be able to compete more effectively, constantly build on client services, and provide more opportunities for employees. For CH&Co Group, which currently operates some contracts in the independent and State school catering services markets, the merger gives the Group a much larger foothold in these important sectors. The deal is the right choice for both companies, according to CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner. “With the combined assets and team of CH&Co Group and Brookwood, we have greater strength to compete even more vigorously in the education sector. As we’ve proven over the past year since CH&Co merged with Host and Catermasters, it is possible to have a larger group but maintain the feel and personal contact associated with smaller companies. Our Group is made up of a number of niche brands, each targeting specific business areas, and Brookwood will operate separately as education specialists. Both of these brands, like the companies within our Group, are established caterers focussed on providing excellent food and service with a reputation for looking after clients, customers and employees; we have a lot of common ground to build on.” Founded in 1996, The Brookwood Partnership were pioneers within the education catering sector. Putting chefs back into school kitchens and offering modern food styles that children wanted to eat, Brookwood has built up a strong business over the last 20 years, becoming a leading education caterer. Managing Partner, Kate Martin said: “We began talking to Tim Jones, CH&Co Group’s Chairman, late last year. As we talked, it became clear that our two organisations would be a great fit because CH&Co Group wanted to expand further in the education sector. We would also have greater resources between us to constantly develop and enhance our client service and of course, we both share a similar ethos of food, people and clients. “We’ve been very impressed with the way that the CH&Co and Host Catermasters integration was handled when they merged just over a year ago. They have maintained a very high client retention rate of 97%, a strong focus on quality food and service, and have still managed to keep the unique feel of the various brands that make up the Group. That gave us the confidence that we too will be able to do the same as part of the Group and this helps us take Brookwood and ABsolutely on to the next chapter.” Tim Jones, Chairman of CH&Co Group, added: “The existing management teams of both companies will remain in position and focus on the day to day business. Behind the scenes, and as we did last year, project teams will be looking at how both organisations work and we will take the best of both companies to help us further strengthen the Group going forward. “The company continues to be predominantly management owned and partly funded by CH&Co Group’s investor partners, MML Capital.” [post_title] => Merger creates new £200m catering group [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => merger-creates-news-200m-catering-group [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-27 09:34:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-27 09:34:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => 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 ) [14] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2475 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-06-16 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-15 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

The past few years have seen increasing numbers of food scandals like horsemeat and BSE, as well as the rise, and uncertainty, of genetically modified food. As such, people have become worried about their food. In our schools these people are our parents so for us, the matter couldn’t be more critical.

As such there is now a greater demand for transparency in food sourcing and, for some, the organic label has been seen as a useful solution to the high level of suspicions about ‘regular’ food. People generally see organic food as a trustworthy and ethical option. So it has become more popular and, for some, a price they are prepared to pay.

The absence of pesticides and antibiotics in the production of organic crops and meats satisfies the instinctive fear of ‘chemicals’.  The apparent transparency as to the sourcing of organic food makes us more comfortable about buying it. It’s even suggested that this chemical-free production has significant health benefits, and also helps the local ecosystems around organic farms by preventing pesticide accumulation. As well as this, organic meat has to be free-range, meaning that consumers feel animals are cared for and treated more responsibly. These are all obviously the strengths of organic goods, and also result in some of the reasoning for higher pricing.

But abstaining from the chemicals used throughout industrialised food production does have drawbacks as well. Organic farms are estimated to be 25% less efficient than alternatives by the Nature science journal. This is put down to the crops being more susceptible to pests and disease, as well as having a significantly decreased shelf-life. This inefficiency is puzzlingly opposed to the claims that organic is more sustainable, and opens up the concept to greater ethical ambiguity than originally supposed. In addition, the perceived health benefits are being increasingly questioned in scientific literature. The UK Food Standards Agency and its French and Swedish counterparts claim that these benefits are negligible and hugely exaggerated by mainstream media. 

The environmental benefits by organic farming, however, are generally agreed upon. It is undeniable that we need to find a safer way to protect our crops from pests than pesticides. Reports of decreased biodiversity in industrial farming regions are prolific and further raising concerns amongst our parents. I can see why this is seen as the core benefit to organic: although potentially perceived as inefficient, it is seen as the answer to farming in an increasingly vulnerable ecosystem, and to protect biodiversity.

So it has become increasingly important for the community we feed to know where our school food comes from. There are several ways to achieve this. In Brookwood, we became the first schools’ caterer to achieve the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s top level 3-star Food Made Good Award. We liked this because it confirmed our food’s credentials by independent review and a top graded ‘kite’ mark. It also removes the accusation of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ labelling that has been levelled at one supermarket recently.

There are also other accreditations such as The Soil Association’s Food For Life, which we have also worked with a number of our schools to achieve. One school has gold level which required a significant transfer to organic produce.

However, cost is a major factor in most schools. A snapshot of food prices I viewed showed a range from 50% more to double the price. We have also found the quantities we require harder to source and organic fresh produce deteriorates more quickly causing greater waste.  Never the less, buying organic produce does give some people peace of mind. So for many, the organic question is really one of ‘pay your money and make your choice’. However, add to this the factor that some organic supply may also be air freighted and, another conversation starts. More confusingly, genetically modified crops, called Frankenstein food in some sectors of the more colourful press, may reduce the use of pesticides. I don’t see a straightforward answer becoming clear any time soon.

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of independent schools’ caterer, The Brookwood Partnership

W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com

[post_title] => Insight from the experts [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => insight-from-the-experts-1465980143 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-15 09:42:22 [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 ) [15] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2753 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-03-22 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-21 23:00:00 [post_content] =>

Not long ago I was enthralled to listen to a presentation by Jason Atherton, a chef at the top of his game. He described how starting with very little, his drive and ambition took him to work in the best restaurants with a salary that would have been the envy of many professions. A final part of the jigsaw making up his success was provided by the people who offered him the training and opportunity to constantly develop and improve. This is a reason why I love this business. It shows how young people with ambition can rise quickly. People development is a particular focus of mine and, when done correctly, it can be rewarding for the employee and the business as well as, in our case, the school.

By respecting, caring for and effectively training employees, an employer can ensure their loyalty, efficiency and general wellbeing – all vital components of a successful company and ones which deserve a lot of attention.

However, when seeking ‘stars’, I don’t necessarily believe in keeping with tradition. A particular example of effective people development within my own company comes to mind. Rahel Berhe began working for Brookwood in 2010 as a food service assistant at St Anthony’s School for Boys in Hampstead. At the beginning of this academic year she became the chef manager at The Falcons School for Boys in Chiswick. This quite rapid career progression is worth sharing.

Investment in people is the only way we can help ensure our catering services are well served

Rahel joined Brookwood through Working Links and chose the job because it fitted her working hours: with a young family, term-time work was ideal. She’d got a diploma in travel and tourism but hadn’t really had much experience in catering. I get the sense that we simply suited her situation. 

When I spoke to her, though, it was clear that this initial mindset quite quickly gave way to a discovery of her genuine interest in food. I was speaking to her just after she’d finished serving a Chinese New Year lunch. I could see from her face and manner that she genuinely enjoyed doing it. As did the children, who gave her an enormous round of applause before they went back to class. These moments, although perhaps small in the grand scheme of things, are rather special to see.

Rahel Berhe

While at St Anthony’s, Rahel progressed rapidly through our skills development programme. As a result, she became a trainee assistant chef and went on to complete her NVQ levels one and two. It’s clear she’s hugely eager to learn and she seems to have taken all the opportunities which have come her way. She was going to go through our management training programme, but a vacancy came up at Falcons, which she was asked to cover while a new manager was sought. This temporary arrangement became permanent in less than a month, after the school specifically requested to keep her. From then on she’s thrived at Falcons: the food is fantastic; she’s respected by pupils and school staff alike. When I asked her what advice she would give to someone looking for a career in catering, one word constantly came up: “opportunities”. These success stories are so satisfying for any business owner to witness; it’s so good to hear about a young woman flourishing through her own hard work and copious enthusiasm, alongside the guidance and opportunities we were able to give her.

Rahel’s story explains why not choosing the obvious route is so massively important, especially when facing a national skills shortage – Rahel, whilst not earning Jason Atherton’s salary, is happy, our client is happy and we have all gained something by it. It’s heartwarming to see hard work so deservingly rewarded. What is that old saying? Hire the attitude and train the skill. Investment in people is the only way we can help ensure our catering services are well served. That is, until government catches up with investment in vocational skills at a senior level.

Sue Parfett is a managing partner of the education caterer The Brookwood Partnership W: www.brookwoodpartnership.com 

 

[post_title] => Insight from the experts, part 15 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => insight-from-the-experts-1458033602 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-15 04:20:02 [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 ) ) [post_count] => 16 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1177 [post_author] => 60 [post_date] => 2017-08-23 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-22 22:00:00 [post_content] =>

When running a large multi-site business such as Brookwood, competent leaders are an especially valuable resource. We need to trust that all of our employees at every level are managed effectively, whilst also accepting that it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. As such, cultivating dependable managers is vital to our day-to-day services. But this begs the question: what is an effective leader? And perhaps more importantly, how can we develop the skills they need?

I spoke to Graham Dixon, a management and leadership coach working within our group, to discuss this challenge. His year-long development programmes focus on raising self-awareness in managers, and an understanding of how a manager’s behaviour affects those who work for him or her. In a workplace now containing a vast variety of personal backgrounds, Graham says this kind of sensitivity is invaluable. He feels it is essential the delegates can transfer application of these ideas to their everyday work environment, encouraging learners to think actively about their own behaviours in their normal settings.

I completely agree with Graham on this. It has always been my belief that effective managers are created from a mixture of ‘theoretical’ knowledge about how to manage, and a thorough understanding of the work environment and people themselves: demonstrably, the best managers in my business are the result of both education and experience. It may be because the catering business is such a ‘hands-on’ industry but I am committed to developing leaders from within the business. This ensures managers have first-hand practical understanding of their work alongside the educational development they derive from off-the-job training.

We have some great examples of successes we’ve had due to this style of training. Aston Perera, for instance, began working with us as an evening chef in a large boarding school. Moving through several promotions, he eventually became general catering manager at a large international boarding school, where his extensive experience in kitchens, in tandem with our highly focused management training, has seen him successfully take control of a million pound business and manage a team of over 30 people. Similarly, Elaine Dachtler, who began with us as a kitchen porter, is now chef manager at one of our largest sites, running two kitchens and a café. Clearly, the investment in employees together with their commitment to their own development has a mutually beneficial impact.

So, in answer to my opening questions: evidently an effective manager for us is one who is knowledgeable about the work being done, but also supported by training and development of self-awareness and management techniques. I believe this is best achieved by doing as much as we can with our own people. 

Coming second in the Sunday Times’ ‘Best Companies to Work For’ in 2014 was one of my proudest moments, and I think our total commitment to development was a significant factor in our success. This has to become even more critical for businesses as government cutbacks and increasing university fees are continuing to bite. 

It allows all those who aspire to develop have the opportunity to do so, and the momentum of fresh talent constantly flowing through our business ensures the greatest opportunities are created for years to come. 

Sue Parfett is Managing Partner of The Brookwood Partnership, the specialist independent schools caterer and part of CH&Co Group. 

[post_title] => Developing leaders in school catering [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => developing-leaders-in-school-catering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 10:19:03 [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 ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 16 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => cf2669823cd94dd3a7038d3b4a63b18e [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
Suppliers

The Brookwood Partnership

Tel: 01484 487926
What we do

Brookwood Partnership is the only owner operated contract catering company providing catering services only to independent schools. Our aim is that our clients say that appointing Brookwood is the best decision they ever made.

The reason they say this is because we are known for: Great Food Services, Best Employer Focusing on Our Clients and Best Value In our business.

Brookwood Partnership is the only owner owner operating company. In fact, we are a group of true contract caterers dedicated to providing a successful independent schools food service of which we are proud. We don’t have ‘trading brands’ nor hide behind any other business model. Brookwood is the genuine article.

Food in Independent Schools – We listen and match our service to your wishes. We help with making food part of the pupils’ education. Ranging from nutrition to cookery classes, our desire is to be an integral part of the school and work with the education of pupils as well as their feeding requirements. Food service in independent schools often goes further than delicious meals.

We are experts when it comes to events, match teas, open days and any other catering occasion that provides a showcase for the school.

Best Employer – If a school has a catering team that is well trained and happy at work, the school will reap the benefits through the service provided. Cohesive teams have better attendance and retain their employees.

Our employees can tell we care about them by what we do. Put simply we communicate, recognise, reward, develop and give opportunities to keep our teams truly engaged with the service we deliver. Focusing On Our Clients. Not all schools are the same, but there can be similarities. Being an independent company, we can tailor our service with our experience and knowledge, meaning we are not “reinventing the wheel”.

We feel very strongly that our clients do not want to be “branded” and so, each school is treated individually.

Value For Money – A school needs to be sure that its funds are being used for the benefit of its pupils’ education. With Brookwood, getting the best we can to ensure that the money spent, can be seen on the plate, is our company style. We promise not to cook using sow’s ears – they are not popular – but we will look for ways of reducing waste and using actual cooking skill to make better, cost effective fresh school meals.

DON'T MISS OUT - REGISTER NOW!

Staff Development – are you just ticking the box?

Free Education Webinar with Juniper

Wednesday, 18th may at 4 PM (BST)

Join with our expert panel to discuss what works and what doesn’t when it comes to delivering effective CPD and evaluation of teaching and learning in schools and trusts right now.

Send an Invite...

Would you like to share this event with your friends and colleagues?

Would you like to share this report with your friends and colleagues?

You may enter up to three email addresses below to share this report