The catering team at The Grangefield Academy in Stockton has clinched a regional award for being the best catering management team of the year 2016 and for its outstanding contribution to catering.
Organised by the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA), a national body, the LACA awards for excellence in catering recognise professionalism, management skills, dedication to the school meal service and innovation in creating budget conscious menus.
Although sponsored by Northern Education Trust, The Grangefield Academy’s seven-strong catering team is employed by Stockton Borough Council.
Sharon Blakemore, catering manager, only took up her role in September, but the majority of the team have worked at the school for many years and two of them, Lesley Gibson and Julie Fisher have worked at Grangefield for 22 and 23 years respectively, serving meals to thousands of students during that time.
Sharon quickly made her mark on arriving at the academy by introducing a number of themed menus to make school meals more interesting and to encourage students to try new foods and flavours. Themes such as Mexican food, the Wild West, Valentine’s Day, a Chinese New Year celebration, Burns Night where the haggis was piped in and more recently, a celebration event to mark HM The Queen’s 90th birthday, have all been a great success.
Thrilled to receive the award, she said: “We were absolutely amazed when our name was called out, so it is a great honour to be recognised in this way. It is very much a team effort and I would like to thank all my ladies because they are a great bunch and a pleasure to work with. They have all worked really hard and since moving to our new school building in April, we now we have a fantastic school kitchen to work in, which will make a huge difference.”