Good school caterers are educators too

Could you ever imagine a situation where a restaurant waiter tells a diner off for not eating up their greens and finishing their meal? Me neither – it’s an absurd idea and it make me wonder why some people stick with this approach to children’s eating.

Many of us have bad memories of our own school dinners and the lack of choice involved. If we didn’t like what we were given, it was tough – we either ate what was presented, or we went hungry. Thankfully, things are vastly different now.

The best school caterers these days recognise that it’s OK for kids to like one item of food and dislike something else. To put it another way, it’s not just about plates, it’s about palates too.

It’s interesting to look at this dictionary definition of the word ‘cater’: ‘To provide what is needed or required.’ That means it’s our duty to provide tasty, nutritious and interesting food for lots of tastes, something that can’t be done by offering just a few choices.

We must cover all the bases – and that certainly goes for vegetarian and vegan tastes too.

‘Providing what is needed’ also has a broader meaning. Good educational catering goes far beyond the making and selling of food. It’s also about teaching and learning, getting kids excited about food at every level and participating in the life of the school.

This requires school chefs and kitchen teams to offer their time and resources to help develop things like food clubs, school allotments, ‘young chef’ cooking competitions, as well as meeting other educational needs the school may have.

This is the school caterer’s constant challenge – balancing those specific educational needs with complete consistency of brand. I’m pleased to say that this is something we do well. I’m sure it is a big factor in our continued success.

Till next time,

Steve

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