Our first Star of the Month in 2008 is Paul Channon, who works for contract caterer the Brookwood Partnership as group manager at University College School in Hampstead, north London. He was nominated by operations manager Stephen Phillips for his passion for the environment and healthy eating, as well as regularly going the extra mile to get the pupils involved. He talked to Kerstin Kühn
Why did you nominate Paul?
Stephen Phillips Paul has had a major input into the design and launch of Planet Matters, our company's environmental policy, and was also instrumental in the launch of Veggietastic, which has been implemented at all Brookwood sites. Veggietastic teaches children all about the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet and includes fun activities, such as a weekly seasonal "guest" fruit or veg that the kids learn about and the chefs prepare for them in various ways to encourage them to try it. Paul constantly comes up with new ideas to entertain the boys at University College School and encourage them to try out different foods and also has a very good relationship with the bursar due to his and his team's constant hard work. He really deserves to win Star of the Month.
How does it feel to have won Star of the Month?
Paul Channon I am absolutely delighted and really surprised. Stephen had told me that he had nominated me, but I knew the competition was tough so I didn't get my hopes up. I'm just thrilled to have won and have my work recognised in this way.
What motivates you?
PC The Brookwood Partnership's philosophy is "food service than can't be bettered", and that's my motto as well. I really want to keep up the high standards and continue to come up with new ideas to make a difference. I have a really good rapport with the students at the school, and it's always great to read the comments and feedback from them.
Where did your inspiration to set up Veggietastic come from?
PC I am a Swiss-trained chef and before I became a manager worked in hotels and also spent 12 years on five-star cruise ships travelling the world. A lot of my inspiration comes from my travels, but the students also inspire me with their ideas, and it's just so exciting to see their faces when they're trying new things and are really getting into it.
What are you going to do with the prize money?
PC I would like to take my team here at University College School out for a drink and treat them a bit, as without them I could never have done this. My daughter is doing a diploma in retail, fashion and design at the London College of Fashion and wants to go to New York with the course, so I will give the rest of the money to her to use on her trip.
• To nominate someone for this award visit www.caterersearch.com/starofthemonth