October's Star of the Month is Wendy Halford, who works for contract caterer Brookwood Partnership as chef-manager at St Michael's School in Otford, Kent. She was nominated by operations manager Alex Ferrazza for her passion for healthy eating and regularly going the extra mile to get the kids involved.
Why did you nominate Wendy?
Alex Ferrazza Wendy has built an amazing relationship with both the school and the children. She is so passionate about getting kids to eat healthily that she regularly puts on special events to get the kids involved. Recently, she organised a special "Africa Day" for which she got all of the members of the catering team to dress up and cook the kids dishes from all around the African continent, to get them to try new things. Our kids are very fortunate to have a chef-manager like Wendy who constantly strives to find new ways of stimulating their imagination.
How does it feel to have won Star of the Month?
Wendy Halford It feels great and I'm absolutely chuffed. My boss had told me I had been nominated but I'm really surprised to have won.
Why do you think you were nominated?
WH I'm really passionate about food and getting kids involved in healthy eating, and I put everything I can into it. I spend a lot of time and energy on getting the children interested in healthy food by creating different themed events and other fun activities that the children enjoy being part of. I recently organised the African-themed day, but I've also done other countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, China and the Caribbean.
What motivates you?
WH Having struggled with obesity myself, I can't bear to see children going that same way - that's why it's so important for me to get them into healthy eating. The biggest challenge is to get kids to try different things, as they can be really set in their ways. Getting them to try new things is half the battle won, and the best way to do this is to offer them bite-sized tasting portions. By making children realise that there is so much more to try out there, you can start to change their habits.
Where does the inspiration for the events you have set up come from?
WH My biggest passions in life are food and travelling, so putting on the events themed by country are as enjoyable for me as they are for the kids. I love researching the different cultures and finding recipes.
What are you going to do with the prize money?
WH As I said, I love travelling, and my favourite country is Italy. So I think I might have to plan a little trip there - and, of course, enjoy some lovely Italian food while I'm there.
To nominate someone for this award, visit www.caterersearch.com/starofthemonth