The Mount School in York has been awarded Independent School Caterer of the Year, a prestigious national food industry award in a glittering ceremony in London last night. Amongst 350 other catering elite, James Goodwin, 37, Chef Manager at The Mount won the accolade at the annual EDUcatering Awards at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington.
Now in its fifth year, the EDUcatering Excellence Awards annually recognise outstanding individuals who have excelled within the school meals sector. Hosted by EDUcatering Magazine, the Awards are judged by a select panel of industry ‘peers’. “Winning an EDUcatering Excellence Award is a great achievement. Being judged by an elite panel of your peers is testament to the accolade” says the organisers.
Students of The Mount Junior School had supported James’ nomination, saying, “Everyone loves the School food at The Mount because it is so different to the food you would get in other schools.”
“I think that eating at school is like eating at a restaurant: there are so many choices, every single one of which is always delicious! The chefs are so inventive and the menus are so creative: we always have something different every week, all of which you could find on a restaurant menu. However, there are always many healthy options and I think that it is fantastic how they make such an effort to incorporate seasonal ingredients. Every day the soup is exquisite and the flavours are so imaginative. Thank you for making such truly delicious food for us! I hope our caterers win as they really deserve it,” said Celia Wood, a Sixth Form student.
James said of his win, “To win this title is the greatest vote of confidence I could wish for, not just for myself but for my team who work so hard to make things happen at The Mount.
“I get great support from Chris Kirk, my head chef. His knowledge and experience is second to none and he works well with the rest of the staff and helps to train two or three chefs on a day-to-day basis.
“I also get great support from Head Office at Wilson Vale. My line manager, Phil Hindmarch, helps to push any good ideas forward, such as the Real Bread initiative, and is always helpful with different ways to support us.
“Last but not least, it is great to be working with such an understanding client who shares our healthy eating ethos and enthusiastically supports our initiatives. This award is shared by all.”
Graeme Oliver, Bursar at The Mount School, said, “We are delighted but not surprised that James has won this accolade. For the past four years The Mount has enjoyed working with Wilson Vale management catering which is a company at the very top of their game.”
Julie Lodrick, Principal at The Mount, immediately tweeted to congratulate James for his well-deserved win. “James and his team have worked incredibly hard to provide the School community with an extremely high standard of food. This sounds much simpler than it is. In a busy school, we have many and varied nutritional needs, food intolerances and levels of allergies. James and his team provide outstanding catering to our entire spectrum of nutritional needs,” said Julie Lodrick.
Carolyne Vale, of joint managing director of Wilson Vale, said “James has a young family which gives him great insight into how to engage children’s interest in good food to stimulate their taste buds. It helps that he is a natural communicator and his strong interpersonal and communication skills have made the catering operation at The Mount School exemplary. His relationship with staff and the pupils continues to flourish and he has made food an integral and exciting part of daily life at the school. He deserves recognition for his constant effort to improve food and service standards and for his ability to engage at all levels to make good food exciting and desirable. He is the ultimate ‘Independent school caterer of the year’.”
For further information, please contact Vanessa Charters on 07568067118.