School kitchens matter just as much as computer suites

26 July 2005
School kitchens matter just as much as computer suites

Schools must be given the same level of resources into kitchens as computer facilities in schools if the Government is going to solve the school meals crisis, according to the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA).

Neil Porter, the association's outgoing chairman, told delegates at the annual LACA conference: "The whole-school approach is the key to turning things around. Kitchens must be given the same priority as IT suites."

He added that caterers must stop being treated as the industry's fall guys. "The finger always tends to get pointed at the caterer and no-one else takes the blame.

"But everyone is responsible, including manufacturers, school meal providers, the Government, high-street retailers and restaurants, schools and the parents."

Porter also repeated concerns that negative post-Jamie Oliver coverage could lose dinner ladies their jobs as school meal uptake dropped. He pointed to the recent closure of Swindon council's in-house catering division as an example.

"There is a need to recognise that the Jamie's School Dinners programme was not universally typical," Porter said.

Porter admitted that the celebrity chef had successfully highlighted the industry's problems, but said they were no easy fixes.

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