Cooking up success in Derbyshire schools

School cooks across Derbyshire have proved they are the cream of the crop after scooping awards for providing excellent meals to the county’s children.

Derbyshire County Council held its 11th annual Primary Catering Quality Assurance Awards to recognise top quality service provided to schools by the authority’s catering teams.

School cooks were nominated by pupils, teachers or members of the authority’s catering service management team and then judged in action at their schools.

Teams were assessed on their performance including the quality of food, service, food presentation, customer care, hygiene, health and safety and kitchen management skills.

And rising to the challenge was the team at Melbourne Junior School which won the overall competition to scoop the Platinum Award of Excellence.

Councillor Mike Longden, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We have so many talented cooks working for us across the county and I’m delighted to be able to honour their hard work and dedication.

“They provide pupils and teaching staff with top quality lunches which are nutritious and value for money to help them stay healthy and full of energy for their afternoon lessons.

“These awards highlight the high standard of food and service offered at schools and I’d like to congratulate all our winners on their well-deserved awards.”

Jane Hinchliffe, head teacher at Melbourne Junior School, added: “Laura Russell and her team provide an outstanding catering service.

“This is evident by the high uptake of school meals and positive feedback from parents. Presentation of food and customer care are excellent.”

In the primary school cooking section there were 252 entries. Of those there were 68 gold, 82 silver and 42 bronze award winners.

A further 20 certificates of achievement and 33 customer service accolades were awarded to schools.

Awards were also presented to the school with the Most Improved Meal Uptake which went to Carsington and Hopton CE Primary School and Most Improved Unit which was won by Breadsall CE Primary.

In the primary school dining section there were 109 entries with nine gold, 34 silver and 30 bronze award winners.

Twenty-three schools were presented with certificates of achievement and four were handed customer service accolades.