Millfield School have revealed that some of the solutions put in place to manage dining during Covid-19 have proved successful enough that they will continue after the pandemic.
Millfield’s nutritionist, Niall Davison, who works with catering provider Chartwells, said: “Covid-19 has been challenging, but some of the solutions that we have put in place have actually improved the way Millfield dines. Some solutions are here to stay.”
He explained that in order to make the dining areas Covid-secure, lunch and dinner times have been extended to spread the sittings out, however, as this isn’t possible for breakfast, they deliver to alternate boarding houses in the morning.
“This is definitely something which will continue post-Covid, as take up has increased as students enjoy the more relaxed nature of breakfast,” said Davison. He also said that pre-boxed salads have been popular.
I want to create an environment which promotes open discussion of the challenges/barriers faced around food and students’ nutrition practices – Millfield nutritionist, Niall Davison
Last year Davison introduced ‘EatToExcel’ – a nutrition culture focusing on the role of nutrition for all students and how good dietary behaviours can help them achieve their goals. Part of the initiative includes screens in the dining hall that flash up reminders of key nutrient groups to help pupils build their plates, as well as portion control graphics.
Davison lives on-site, which Chartwells’ executive chef, Nick Dorber, said is “really beneficial”. “It’s allowed us to get under the skin of the school and delve into the different needs of the students,” said Dorber.
This year Davison said he will work directly with students in a more informal environment in their boarding and day houses to learn more about their relationships with food.
“I want to create an environment which promotes open discussion of the challenges/barriers faced around food and students’ nutrition practices. Boarding house environments are the perfect spaces to talk about these challenges and discover effective solutions, and it’s been a really insightful experience for both students and myself as a nutritionist so far,” said Davison.