Cateys 2020: Health and Nutrition Award – Westminster Kingsway College

22 November 2020
Cateys 2020: Health and Nutrition Award – Westminster Kingsway College

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Westminster Kingsway College's School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts has been at the forefront of food education in the UK for more than 100 years. But while its history has been critical in creating the foundations on which the institution stands today, it is its determination to evolve and innovate that has ensured its unbounded success.

The creation of an academy dedicated to educating students on the importance of food as medicine has helped to cement the relationship between medicine and cooking in the UK. A culinary medicine course for NHS clinicians, run in partnership with Culinary Medicine UK, and a degree course in culinary health and nutrition, have been a game-changer at the college's Victoria campus. Giving doctors and medical students a greater insight into the vital role that nutrition plays in health, the culinary medicine course enables health professionals to speak to their patients about the dietary changes they could make based on their medical condition.

Following a small-scale pilot with University of Bristol students, the culinary medicine course has trained more than 400 fifth-year medical students from the UCL Medical School in London, and Culinary Medicine UK is hopeful that more teaching hospitals and universities will get on board with the concept in due course.

Westminster Kingsway provides vital culinary expertise to the programme, as well as the use of its leading kitchen facilities, essential to providing meaningful training to the course's participants. Chef-lecturer Vince Kelly tutors the course's students – many of whom have no previous cooking or nutrition experience – in cooking skills, and he works with a dietitian and nutritionist on modules covering weight management and portion control, protein and vegetarian diets and fats.

The college's involvement in the programme began when Professor David Foskett – hospitality educator, author and the inaugural winner of the Education and Training Award Catey – connected the college with Dr Rupy Aujla, an NHS GP and the founder of Culinary Medicine UK. With the help of Westminster Kingsway department principal Gary Hunter and Professor Foskett, Dr Aujla created the culinary medicine course.

Westminster Kingsway's degree course in culinary health and nutrition is described as the only one of its kind. Designed for trained chefs, the course gives its students an in-depth understanding of the medical effects of food on health and wellbeing, and a grounding in the scientific principles of clinical nutrition. It provides a stepping stone into many careers in nutrition, including in commercial product development, corporate wellness, working with the health sector, public health, the supplementation industry and sports nutrition.

What the judges said

"The impact of diet and nutrition on health and well-being are well known. This innovative course, fully accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners, clearly demonstrates how hospitality students can play a significant role in the health and diet of the UK. A great example of partnership working and collaboration." – Judith Gregory

"Westminster College is a worthy winner. With the first UK Centre for Culinary Medicine, this has the potential to change the health of the nation and reduce costs to the NHS. What people put on their plate is the most important health intervention anyone can make." – John Lavery

The shortlist

  • CH&Co
  • Chartwells
  • Westminster Kingsway College, London

The judges

  • Judith Gregory, senior client officer, Cardiff Council/Chair of LACA Wales Region
  • John Lavery, owner, Fish City, Belfast
  • Jo Lewis, external relations and development officer, British Dietetic Association
  • Sophie Murray, head of nutrition and hydration, Sunrise Senior Living
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