The Chefs’ Forum & Rational to Stage Ground-breaking Education Catering Seminar

The Chefs’​ Forum has teamed-up with Rational to stage an Education Catering Seminar on the 23rd June, from 2-4pm.  This free-to-attend event is open to all school catering managers, chefs, kitchen planners and designers- and will serve to address the challenges and opportunities facing this vitally important sector of the catering industry.

Hosted by The Chefs Forum’s Director of Education, Neil Rippington, this ground-breaking event will explore current topics affecting all elements of the Education Catering Sector:

■ Natasha’s Law and allergens – Are you ready?

■ Technology

■ Waste reduction and sustainability

■ Tomorrow’s kitchens

■ The next generation of school chefs

Adam Knights, Marketing Director, Rational UK comments,

“We are looking forward to the education catering seminar and are very grateful to the experts taking part. Working in partnership with The Chefs’ Forum our goal is to provide an ongoing platform for individuals from the education catering sector, who together can make a change for improved education catering standards.”

The Chefs’ Forum Education seminar will look at all issues listed in the points above, alongside others, in a wide-ranging analysis of the sector and the challenges it faces. Education catering needs to adapt and begin to communicate with children and young people in a language they understand. Don’t remove all the fast food, instead, make the fast food healthy. The technology and ingredients are available to make a difference in education catering. The remaining piece of the jigsaw is remembering to identify the customer: the children and young people. They will tell you what they want and how they want it.

It is also time to look in more detail at vending options. By harnessing technology that can produce faster, healthier food, students can access food options at different points rather than ushering everyone down the same line. By addressing such issues, the amount of food waste will naturally start to come down. We have a history of evidence to suggest a ‘one size fits all’ does not work in education catering. There must be a new way of thinking. Everything needed in education catering has already been applied in different commercial locations, from motorway services to complex staff catering operations in large office sites.

As caterers in the education sector, we need to produce food in a healthier, more exciting and appealing way, aligned with food service operations that meet the needs and expectations of our customers.

The panel invited to comment on these topics made up of the following experts:

Phil Rees-Jones – Director of Campus Facilities at Cardiff University and TUCO Ltd Chair

Jacquie Blake – LACA Vice Chair and Commercial Operations Manager, Nottingham City Council

Neil Porter – LACA & Operations Manager BAM Construct UK

Brian Turner CBE – Celebrity Chef and Supporter of Chefs Adopt a School

Holly Charnock – LACA School Chef of the Year and School Chef Sefton Council

Kevin Tombs – RATIONAL UK Limited

Jacquie Blake has worked in the education catering sector for many years.  She is the Vice Chair of LACA, which represents 3,300 organisations providing 3 million lunches in 22,000 schools every day.

She said

“I am delighted that this seminar is taking place and that I have been invited to join the panel.  Natasha’s Law is coming into effect this October and we need to help our chefs and cooks prepare. LACA has produced a free risk assessment tool for caterers, which I will be sign-posting delegates to during the event. We need to look at how kitchens in education are designed and the sort of equipment that chefs are expected to cook on.”

In addition, if we can support project planning in the early stages, then we can help our LACA members reduce their carbon footprint and cut waste. My aim is to help make Nottingham become a carbon neutral city by 2028 and we can only achieve this if all elements of the catering sector are in sync.”

Delegates can register FREE to attend the event on the 23rd June between 2-4pm by emailing: