Posted: Thursday 13th July 2017
Did you know that more than 15 million school lunches were served last year by Hertfordshire’s leading education caterer, Hertfordshire Catering Limited (HCL)? Through its 1,800 staff, HCL provides school lunches across Hertfordshire to the majority of primary schools (94 per cent) and half (50%) of all secondary schools in Hertfordshire.
Hertfordshire’s school children enjoy food standards that surpass the national average for UK’s restaurants; 99% of all HCL school kitchens have a 4* hygiene rating or above and 86% have a 5* rating whereas only 82% of all English catering and hospitality businesses have a hygiene rating of 4* or above.
Additionally HCL’s Primary Schools are Food for Life Silver accredited, a recognition of the high quality food, and ingredients, provided. 100% of our meat is either Red Tractor certified, Organic or UK reared. The Food for Life criteria also requires 75% of dishes to be cooked from scratch, onsite by trained staff.
Michael Goulston, Mobile Cook Manager for HCL, has worked across a number of Hertfordshire’s school kitchens and is currently placed in Peartree Springs Primary School in Stevenage.
“Working at HCL is wonderful,” said Michael. “I enjoy the challenge that serving young children brings and we always encourage them to try new flavours and ingredients by making food fun, exciting, nutritional and well-balanced.”
“I’ve worked in a number of kitchens across the county and every one that I’ve worked in has been welcoming and incredibly well prepared and ordered. There’s a lot of hidden talent in Hertfordshire’s kitchens and it’s great to be a part of such a fantastic team.”
HCL’s talented team are encouraged to hone their skills with on the job training. Staff are given the opportunity to study NVQs in addition to mandatory training delivered by external providers and internally. The company has training kitchens in four secondary schools, with a team of four skill trainers who deliver on-site training. This is boosted by a team of training kitchen managers who deliver more focused one-on-one training.
Staff are also encouraged to develop their talents by entering culinary competitions. The company supported Michael in his entry for the national School Chef of the Year 2017 competition, in which he won the East of England regional final.
“It was such a buzz to be recognised for doing something that you love to do, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without HCL, said Michael. “I’ve had brilliant support and encouragement from my line manager throughout the competition. I’m really lucky to have such great career development with HCL but being part of this competition has been the icing on the cake.”
Anyone interested in a flexible career, helping to feed wholesome school meals to Hertfordshire’s children, should visit: www.hcl.co.uk
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