‘Nursery Caterer of the year 2019’ win for Childbase
Beating chefs and cooks to the title, Liberty Collins, Health Safety and Environment Officer at Childbase Partnership is Educatering Magazine’s Nursery/Preschool Caterer of the year 2019.
Responsible for achieving ‘Food for Life Served Here’ Bronze and Silver awards for the 43 day nurseries in the employee owned Childbase Partnership, Liberty also presided over a company-wide roll out of organic milk to all settings in 2018; transformed the menus to include meat-free days and is currently spear-heading a drive to incorporate even more organic ingredients in food supplies.
Accepting the award at a gala event in London, Liberty said:
“I couldn’t be more delighted or proud to win this award because it puts the spotlight firmly on Early Years nutrition and exceptionally dedicated and talented chefs working in Childbase Partnership day nurseries. Not only are they producing thousands of quality, nutritious meals and snacks every single day, they are also ensuring children make positive, informed choices about food in the future. “
“Everything we do now impacts the future health of the nation so the pursuit of excellence has to be continuous and, most definitely, a team effort. This award shows we are on the right track,” she added.
Liberty is responsible for over 6.4 million meals and snacks served annually in settings from Nottingham to Reading and managed a comprehensive transformation of menus to achieve ‘Food for Life Served Here’ accreditation and ensure an even more ethical, sustainable operation going forward.
Currently 75% of sites have achieved ‘Food for Life Served Here’ Silver Awards in recognition of the commitment to higher welfare meat and poultry (Red Tractor and RSPCA Assured meats); free-range eggs; fish from certified sustainable sources and stringent monitoring and evaluation processes to maintain strict adherence to the criteria and identify, when possible, improvements taking into account the latest research.
Mark Bird, Childbase Partnership Health Safety and Environment Director, said:
“Finding a balance in nutrition that is varied, meets all the requirements of Food for Life Served Here; complies with Public Health England’s early years specific guidance and takes account of children’s special medical and religious dietary requirements is challenging.”
“Mix in the need to achieve a budgetary figure in settings that vary wildly in size, and two menu revisions per annum and you’ve got a big job. Liberty is a deserving winner because throughout the process she has shown a quiet determination; tireless support for everybody tasked with delivering on this initiative and continues to drive the search for further improvements,” he added.
In addition to strict monitoring in the delivery of menus in settings, Liberty introduced a programme of training and two seasonal, day-long conferences for nursery chefs – who had already removed salt and nearly all but the minimum of sugar from their menus - to ensure they understood the need for change; could confidently deliver the new menus and provide them with opportunities to create their own recipes using the prescribed ingredients.
David Persaud, ‘Food For Life Served Here’ Midlands Development Manager, said:
“It is no mean feat to achieve a Food For Life Served Here award and to do so for so many nurseries is fantastic. Having seen first-hand how the teams prepare the food and involve the children in activities with food they are creating a wonderful food culture and lasting foundations for the children to have positive relationships with food throughout their lives.”