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Stir it up magazine SEPTEMBER 2017

No turkey twizzlers here! BRINGING OUR CATERING IN-HOUSE WAS INSPIRED DECISION SCHOOL STAT S ࡟ 405 pupils aged 4-18 ࡟ Termly and weekly boarding plus day pupils ࡟ 200 boarders ࡟ 45% international students, mainly from China and Russia ࡟ Catering team: six chefs plus a head chef ࡟ Catering operation: 7 days a week, 7am until 8pm SEPTEMBER 2017 5 When Anita Fisher moved from working in a corporate catering environment into a school setting, she was shocked by the standard of food on offer – and was determined to turn it around. As an employee of a contract catering company, she saw there was drastic room for improvement and advised the governors at Malvern St James Girls’ School in Worcestershire to take its catering operation in-house. “I’d worked in the corporate side of contract catering before I came here and had never worked in a school,” she explains. “I came into it blind and wrongly expected it to be easy! I realised very quickly that what we were feeding the children wasn’t good enough in my eyes – it was very much about ‘turkey twizzlers’ convenience food – and I wanted to change that. “After six months of getting to know the school well, I put my ideas forward, and, two years later, we took everything in-house.” Now seven years into the job at the prestigious independent day and boarding school for girls, Anita is a very happy head of catering. The kitchen and dining area have been completely refurbished to create a modern and enticing environment with a vibrant salad and tapas bar, and the pupils are served healthy, ‘home-cooked’ food every day – plus lots of the treats they would enjoy at home. “When I first came, the children were using their spending money to order in pizzas and takeaways so we had to change the whole way that they thought about food. I’m passionate about good food and I wouldn’t want my children eating rubbish so we created our own version of KFC and takeaway food, which we serve in takeaway boxes on Saturday nights!” she explains. Anorexia and eating issues are on the catering team’s radar, and Anita blames social media for putting pressure on girls to be thin. “It’s something we have to watch quite a lot. We have a few girls with special eating requirements so we have a dedicated member of the catering team to look after pupils with allergies and special diets. “Social media is a big factor because girls compare themselves to celebrities. They can be very easily led.” Packed lunches from home are banned for day pupils so that everyone eats a nutritious lunch together, and roast dinners and pizzas top the favourite dishes. “Curries are very popular too,” continues Anita. “We use all of the Country Range Ready-to-Use Sauces and the Country Range Basmati Rice is a brilliant product too. If Country Range make it, we use it!” There’s no menu cycle, instead the menu is changed every single week, and Anita and her team draw culinary inspiration from a variety of sources to keep the menus on trend. “I have a passion for food and I love to eat out so I bring ideas from things I’ve eaten in restaurants,” she says. “We all read lots of food magazines and get lots of ideas from Stir it up. The articles are all very down to earth and feel like they are written specifically for us rather than aimed at big corporate companies like other catering magazines.” CUSTOMER PROFILE


Stir it up magazine SEPTEMBER 2017
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