What they Say

Jonathan Oakley, Deputy Headteacher More [+]

Cucina are passionate about food. Cucina have a professional and honest relationship with their clients. We are hopeful that Cucina will revolutionize the students and staff attitudes towards food, encouraging them to eat healthy, fresh and different foods and taking advantage of local suppliers. The roast dinner Cucina provide is particularly outstanding. Fresh meat is carved on the front counter in front of the students and the roasted vegetables seasoned with herbs are excellent.

Steve Turner, Headmaster More [+]

We were impressed by Cucina’s enthusiasm for food. Cucina give a more personal service than larger catering companies. Cucina are real “foodies” who provide interesting menus and their theatre of food was the biggest seller to us. In these terms, of the companies who tendered for the contract, they were unique. Since Cucina started, the service looks more professional and commercial, with clear signage and colour schemes more in keeping with a restaurant, rather than a school canteen. The food that Cucina produce is of an excellent quality. They use fresh, well sourced ingredients which are very well presented. I like the relationship that the chefs and ladies in the canteen now have when they serve the pupils – there is a good rapport. I am very impressed with my ability, as Headmaster, to have direct line communication with Steve Quinn. I like his hands on style. I feel I have more of an influence than when we used a multi-national company and if I have any issues they are dealt with straight away. There has been some very positive feedback from the pupils and also the staff so far. Cucina have not disappointed and have made a real impression. At present, I can’t fault Cucina. They have put in experienced chefs and maintained the high quality.

Ed Jones, Assistant Headteacher More [+]

Everyone is hyped up and excited with Cucina, who have a new approach to catering in schools. The quality and presentation of the food is excellent and freshly prepared. The pupils don’t like queuing and don’t like the food running out so Cucina have come up with innovative ideas on how to resolve these issues. Cucina is also looking to attract more sixth formers into the dining hall with a ‘bistro’ area for them and dining areas outside, such as the kiosk.

Jane Carpenter, Business and Enterprise Manager More [+]

Very few of our students were buying lunches before Cucina took over, but now take up has soared. The quality of food Cucina produce is excellent and ‘stealthy eating’ is a great concept. We are delighted with Cucina’s start and are looking forward to a continuing positive and profitable relationship. Cucina is a young, enthusiastic, exciting and innovative company. The relationship is as important to them as it is to us. Cucina incorporate the hands on involvement of their directors and they have an obvious passion for what they do. The student council liked Cucina and the food that was provided when Cucina pitched for the work. Individual personalities definitely stand out. Cucina has a desire to be part of the School, rather than just being our caterers. Cucina provide high quality food in line with Government guidelines, but still accommodate the needs of all our school community.

Nicola Hazelwood, Bursar More [+]

We were impressed by Cucina’s enthusiasm, their knowledge of food and their fresh ideas. It was Cucina’s whole approach to school catering that impressed us and is why we chose them. The children love the food. Cucina’s approach is trendy and appeals to the pupils; it is not staid and traditional, but is vibrant and unique. Cucina have brightened up the service, with clear pricing and a modern, bright and funky approach. Our expectations for Cucina, which we are sure will be fulfilled, are that they will increase the children’s awareness of a range and variety of food and that Cucina will become integrated and part of the whole life of the school. School life is about happy, healthy well fed children and Cucina will play a key role in this.

Ruth Bancroft, Business Director More [+]

Student uptake with the Cucina meals has increased dramatically. Cucina is far more innovative than any of the other companies who tendered. Cucina had a new vision. Cucina aren’t looking at delivering the existing school contract. They were coming with completely fresh ideas. Cucina appoint an Executive Chef who is with us permanently. This raises the bar from school cooking to delivering a client based service. Cucina has now been in for several weeks and the difference is fantastic. Eating at the Cucina restaurant is an enjoyable experience; you eat fantastic food, in a nice atmosphere with good customer service. We are hopeful that the girls’ behaviour will improve. The food they eat is now of better quality. Previously, they were buying pizza with gravy, but they are now being more adventurous with their food choices. The difference in the quality of food Cucina produce is fantastic compared to what we had before. Cucina’s food is colourful, tasty and more and more pupils and staff are eating it – sales are going up.

Diana Dean, Business Manager More [+]

We chose Cucina because they came across as being different to the other traditional catering companies. Already we have seen a big increase in the uptake of the lunches and the canteen is really busy over both lunches. We needed new, fresh ideas. Our expectation from Cucina is that they will very much work with the School and that it should more of a partnership. There are lots of cross curriculum activities that we would like them to get involved in, and already we have a student who works in the kitchen once a week supporting the staff as part of his alternative curriculum arrangements.

Colin Summersgill, Bursar More [+]

The school were looking for a company that would offer good quality food as well as a service responsive to the needs of students and staff. It was felt from the presentations and from visiting existing Cucina sites, that Cucina could offer the school what it was looking for. Their staff seemed genuinely interested in providing good quality, tasty and healthy food. Cucina’s innovative ideas on the food offer, for example, wishing to promote healthy food using the concept of stealthy eating, made them stand out from the competition. The food that Cucina produce is excellent and their innovative approach to menus incorporates new legislation in a way that most students will actually choose to eat. Their desire to become involved with the school curriculum and wider school life also contributed to Sandhurst choosing Cucina. Throughout the extensive selection process, Cucina were the unanimous choice of all involved in every aspect of their work.

Lynda Lorentzen, Bursar More [+]

The first impact is the uptake of food, which has quadrupled since Cucina became involved. The first day Steve took over we took more money
in a day than we used to in a week and now over 600 girls enjoy a cooked meal at lunch time. Sixth formers who have never had school food
are now converts. The girls’ behaviour is improving because they are eating better quality food at break time and at lunch and a more
balanced diet. This increase in usage has also allowed us to practically eliminate our hefty catering costs so we are delighted on all fronts.
We are extremely happy with Cucina and so are the girls. The variety of food on offer is great and has introduced our girls to new dishes from
around the world. The standard of food at Southfield now wouldn’t be out of place in a restaurant and all the fresh fruit and vegetables on offer ensure that the girls get the nutrients they need. What’s more, no-one has missed the chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks!

Cassie Watts, 6th former and Catering Selection Panel member More [+]

I chose Cucina because when they made their presentation they spoke to us, not just to the adults. After all we’re their biggest customers, not
the adults. And they have delivered exactly what they said they would. It’s the best decision we ever made.

Paul Lerwill, Support Services Manager More [+]

It was a unanimous decision to employ Cucina. We were impressed with the quality of food and liked the use of local produce. The girls are keen on food miles. Cucina has ‘inspirational’ menus, menus which are out of the ordinary. The girls asked questions about disposables and packaging. Cucina are ahead of the game in terms of their green credentials and recycling. With regard to references, I spoke with four schools where Cucina is operating and without fail they were 100% full of praise for Cucina. I spoke with the bursar at Southfield School for Girls, who said they only need one word to describe Cucina ‘fabulous’. I asked another school who said that Cucina had made lots of promises when starting the contract and they had delivered on every one. I couldn’t ask for better references and this was one of the main reasons that we chose Cucina.

Bob Rymarz, Director of Support Services More [+]

Cucina is a fresh company who offer an innovative method for providing healthy food options for our children and staff. Cucina’s emphasis is on the students having the most attractive meals possible which meet all the nutritional guidelines and compete favourably with the high street both in terms of quality and price. The quality of Cucina’s food is excellent. Cucina works to the standards that we might expect for ‘home cooking’. Working with Cucina we have provided a restaurant environment for our students, staff and visitors, moving away from the traditional school dinner environment.

Dr. Phil Bassill, Director of Resources and Business Development More [+]

The children at The Harefield Academy benefit from healthy, well prepared, exciting food from Cucina. We have seen Cucina’s positive influence on the students’ energy, behaviour and attention spans. Before Cucina was brought in, a significant number of students were choosing not to eat at The Academy restaurant, but Cucina has really turned this around.

Don Grant, Head of Corporate Services More [+]

Cucina is part of our vision of catering for healthy eating in the 21st century. Cucina will move everything further forward. It’s about treating students as young adults and giving the students a flavour of different, nutritional foods. We are focusing on opportunities for the students and Cucina has provided a package so ahead of anything else that we have seen.