Public Sector Caterer Award
Sponsored by Mars Foodservice
2014 Winner: Mary Wedge
Mary Wedge has worked in the hospitality industry for 35 years. She is deputy chair and conference organiser for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) and senior operations manager at Talkington Bates Midlands.
For the majority of her life in hospitality she has been involved in providing care catering services, either in the Community Meals Service or in care homes including Extra Care and Residential Care, working in both the independent and public sectors.
Wedge has held senior management posts, including her current role, with Talkington Bates, Caterplus, ISS Hospitality and Apetito, but as Andy Jones, HCA chair and service development director at ISS Facility Services Healthcare, explained: "Mary is always focused on the people she serves, which in her case is always the end user."
Regardless of the specific discipline she has managed, Wedge has always made it her mission to focus on quality, customer care and attention to detail. Her responsibilities recently saw her develop a new apprenticeship programme that runs across all sites of the Talkington Bates business. She has partnered with the Springboard Charity and the Clink Charity, the Down's Syndrome Association and local authorities to support and offer
opportunities to disadvantaged adults and young people.
Wedge was an overwhelming choice for the judges. Over and above her day job, the panel particularly respected her consistent and extraordinary work for the NACC and her focus on compliance and the huge amount of work that she has contributed to the care sector. Her voluntary contribution to the work of the NACC has included roles of national secretary, conference organiser and national chair.
The vote by the judges was due in no small part to her matriarchal role within the sector and her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge to everyone's benefit.
What the judges said "The consummate professional, Mary always achieves the task at hand, plus she is willing to go the extra mile to ensure the task is delivered to the benefit of the customer, be they a 90-year-old service user or a professional colleague."
"Mary is always focused on the people she serves, which in her case is always the end user."
"Mary is a sustained achiever and a very safe pair of hands. Her achievements have made a real difference in hospitality, and compliance is always key."
"Mary's contribution has been consistent and extraordinary."
Shortlisted Julie Barker, The University Caterers Organisation
Mark Davies, ISS Facility Services
Mary Wedge, Talkington Bates Midlands
The judges Beverley Baker, Head of commercial services, Surrey County Council
Anne Bull, National chair, LACA
Sue Hawkins Care catering services manager, Dorset County Council
Derek Johnson Principal catering manager, NACC and Leeds City Council
Andy Jones Service development director & HCA chair, ISS Facility Services Healthcare
Roger Kellow Government account manager, Hobart UK
Vic Laws Director, AVL Consultancy
Alison McCree Associate director of facilities, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
Matthew Merritt-Harrison Managing partner, Merritt-Harrison Catering Consultancy
Neel Radia National chair, National Association of Care Catering