Measuring success

We had some big nights out a few weeks ago, at two industry awards ceremonies – in quick succession. The first was the ‘Foodservice Cateys’ where we were on a shortlist of three for ‘Education Caterer of the Year’.

Finalists were selected from the many school catering companies which entered, and while we didn’t win the big award, it was a great honour to have been selected in the last three.

It was also good to see our company profiled in front of so many people in the food service industry. It was a great night. As well as being fantastic to catch up with some old contacts, I think Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine should be congratulated for launching these new awards.

Just a few days later we were in London again and shorlisted for two more awards at the Educatering Excellence Awards, organised by Educatering Magazine.

Once again it was shortlists of three, firstly for ‘Contract Caterer of the Year’ and secondly a special ‘Green Award’ for our inspirational Grower and Exec Chef Mark Cartwright. And once again, we didn’t walk away with any statuettes. But it was still a great honour to be runners-up, especially considering the number of companies that entered the awards.

Funny really, but watching the winners tread the podium to pick up their trophies reminded me in some ways of prize-giving back at school. Back then I was always one of the kids watching others receive the prizes, so I guess I should have been used to it! Knowing what I know about education now, though, it reminds me how far we’ve all come.

One of our partner schools has the motto ‘Achievement Through Active Learning’. I really like this, because it says that kids are encouraged to take responsibility for their own success. Taken one step further it says that when kids succeed and do well, they should do it through motivation from inside, rather than the promise of rewards or prizes. And that’s how I see what we’re doing too.

At Cucina we do like sharing the story of our success, but our main motivation comes from seeing just what a difference we’re making to kids’ lives. That’s our real buzz – knowing that our high risk business strategy to deliver amazing quality food is working, and bringing us business success in the process.

I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to win awards. It would, of course. But awards judges make their decisions based upon their own criteria. If that happens to match our own criteria and priorities, of course I’d still be really pleased if we were recognised in this way.

But in the meantime, I’m very happy with how our fantastic teams continue to implement the original vision I had for this company, taking school food in exciting new directions in the process.

Till next time,


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