OLDHAM COUNCIL has been awarded a prestigious BOOM (Best of Organic Market) Award thanks to the high quality meals being served in schools across the borough.
The Education Catering service was among more than 500 organisations that entered the awards, which are organised by the Soil Association and recognise organisations which promote organic food and living.
The council’s team picked up first place in the new Corporate and Public Sector Catering category.
Judged by an independent panel of well-known experts, including chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and specialists, celebrity foodies and consumer judges, the winners showcase the very best of the UK’s organic food and drink industry.
The local authority’s nomination was supported by Jeanette Orrey MBE, the co-founder of Food for Life, and Professor Kevin Morgan of Cardiff University, both of whom have been part of Oldham’s exciting journey for a number of years.
The award follows success for the team three years ago when it was the first in the North West to attain a ‘Gold Food for Life Catering Mark’ – a standard that has maintained ever since thanks to the quality meals being served up every day.
Every meal served in 87 primary and special schools by the catering team are healthy, ethically prepared and contain lots of locally sourced ingredients and products.
They are freshly prepared daily on site using a range of organic products, high animal welfare produce and free range ingredients.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years, said: “I’d like to thank and congratulate the Education Catering Team for all their hard work and we’re delighted that they have won another prestigious award.
“Every day our staff prepare around 16,500 healthy, nutritious and tasty meals for pupils across the borough to tuck into and this award shows they are doing it the right way.
“Parents, children and residents are more interested than ever before about the source and quality of the food they eat.
“This BOOM Award provides them with a guarantee that our meals and the products used to make them are traceable, fresh, seasonal and high on animal welfare.
“They also demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that school children are receiving the best quality food as part of a healthy balanced diet.”
Last year the team successfully secured the catering business for the new Hollinwood Academy Special School, which will further expand with a larger intake planned for September 2016.
The team has since repeated its success with a ‘winning bid’, securing the business for the new kitchen at Northmoor Academy, from September 2016.
The service has also been approached by the Soil Association to work with them and the Carbon Trust developing the ‘Sustainable Catering Standard of the future’ pilot.