A newcomer to school catering who has made a meteoric impact since entering the sector has won a top award sponsored by Bernard Matthews Foodservice and its Big Green Tick range.
Jason Carter, general manager at Grace Academy in Stratford Upon Avon was hailed Newcomer of the Year at this year's prestigious EDUcatering Excellence Awards, which took place at the five star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington yesterday (Monday, October 15th).
Runners up were Jordi Cassas, catering manager at St. Mary Magdalene C of E School and Paul Cudby, school cook at St. Thomas C of E School, who, amongst other examples of their sheer dedication, have helped increase school meal uptake and instigated inspiring food-related initiatives.
Jason arrived at Grace Academy last year to run the catering service under a new contract with Aspens. He has worked under many guises within the catering industry, but for the past seven years, he has honed his skills in the education sector.
As well as implementing a number of initiatives at the three Grace Academy sites, he has managed the day-to-day services of the school meal provision for 3,000 students and 500 staff, and has been particularly lauded for his enthusiasm and in coming up with new ideas.
He has supported students at Grace Academy Solihull to set up their own business to supply the school with fresh, local produce grown in their own vegetable garden, worked with students to arrange business lunches within the school to give them the experience of formal dining events, while Food Technology pupils learn about working under pressure to serve these lunches.
Other examples of Jason's work include communicating with the school council across the three sites to launch initiatives like a milkshake and yoghurt bar. By working with the school council, he tells students all about the actions he has taken in response to feedback of the meals service.
As award sponsor, Bernard Matthews Foodservice and its Big Green Tick range of products developed in conjunction with LEAs and school caterers, is committed to supporting education catering, also sponsoring this year's Get Traditional Day of LACA's National School Meals Week in November and the Craft Guild of Chefs' Family Food Appreciation workshops.
Duncan Marsh of Bernard Matthews Foodservice said those coming fresh into the sector faced many expectations, including the need to balance children's tastes with government guidelines.
"Jason is the perfect example of someone who has brought their skills, dedication and experience with them to a new job, and used these to bring something fresh into a fast-changing field with many challenges. We are very proud to support employees like Jason, who not only excel in their own role, but inspire others to look at new opportunities to improve school meal provision."
To be nominated for the award, candidates had to be a new employee at any level, who had worked for their present employer for less than a year at the date of nomination, shown outstanding commitment to their new role and enhanced the performance of the school meal provision.
The award was one of 13 presented to the leading lights of school catering on Monday, watched by an audience of hundreds of their peers and industry ambassadors.
For more information, visit www.bernardmatthewsfoodservice.co.uk or call 0845 519 4097.
This press release was provided by Bernard Matthews Foodservice