Winners of the LACA (the Lead Association for Catering in Education) Awards for Excellence 2016 were announced last night (7 July).
The annual award ceremony, which recognises the education food industry's most committed, innovative and successful schools and individuals across the UK, took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel.
More than 600 people attended LACA's Main Event gala dinner and ceremony presented by David Bull.
The 13 awards included the introduction of the LACA Region of the Year Award to recognise the hard work carried out in the grassroots level of the association. The Wales region walked away with the inaugural award for its "unrelenting commitment to the showcasing and provision of nutritious and innovative school meals."
North Ayrshire Council was presented with the Education Marketing Award while the council's facilities manager, Ken Campbell scooped the Roger Davis Outstanding Achievement Award. He was recognised for having overseen £2.5m of savings in three years, while improving services and winning more than 12 national awards as a passionate advocate for school meals.
Haydonleigh Primary School received the Department for Education (DfE) Award which was presented by Zoe Dan from the healthy pupil policy, DfE. She said the sector has shown great resolve and commitment by raising and excelling food standards leaving a "legacy for generations to come".
The final award of the night was the LACA Chair's Award. The current chair Peter McGrath selected his line manger Gabrielle Higham at Waterfall Catering Service as the recipient of the title.
McGrath said: "It isn't until you become chair that you realise just how much support and help you need from people. I have had so much support from the LACA board and across the industry." Before announcing the winner, McGrath personally thanked Mark Taylor, foodservice channel director for Premier Foods and LACA vice chair Sally Shadrack for their support throughout his time as national chair.
The evening also included a charity raffle in aid of young people's charity Roundabout and the Harvest Gardens charity, which has gardens established in seven African nations to feed up to 50 of the poorest people in a community for a year.
It raised more than £7,300 during the dinner, while Hobart UK donated a cheque for an additional £3,000.
McGrath also updated guests about his fundraising for the Holiday Hunger campaign which has seen him run more than 120km in more than 10 locations including Cardiff and Belfast. He said £6,500 had been raised so far with donations still coming in.
His speech was quickly followed by a cheque presentation from Pasta King, which has been holding a pop-up restaurant at the LACA Main Event. It has raised £2,000 to help ensure children do not go hungry during the summer holidays.
The full list of winners:
- Specialist Caterer/Catering Team of the Year - Nottingham City Council
- Primary School Catering Team of the Year - Victoria Lane Academy - Taylor Shaw
- Secondary School Catering Team of the Year - Warwick Secondary School - Surrey Commercial Services
- Education Marketing Award - North Ayrshire Council
- The Nan Berger Memorial Award - GS Plus
- Roger Davis Outstanding Achievement Award - Ken Campbell, North Ayrshire Council
- Self-Delivered/In-House Catering Operation - Harrogate Grammar School
- Change4Life Award - Manchester Fayre, Manchester City Council
- Department for Education School Food Achievement Award - Haydonleigh Primary School
- LACA Region of the Year - Wales
- Supplier of the Year Award - Radnor Hills
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