With over 1100 pupils to serve in just one hour, providing a top-quality catering offering at Ormiston Horizon Academy is no easy feat, but Director of Catering, John Whittle – or Chef Jon – is doing just that.
Drawing on 30 years of culinary experience – which includes the role of Executive Chef at Staffordshire University – the award-winning chef and his dedicated team prepare nutritional dishes that are a nod to the latest food trends influencing menus on the high street. With pupils treated to street food inspired dishes, which include burritos, Taco Tuesday, Curry Fusion, a noodle bar and even a school-friendly take on the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap has made an appearance.
“We bring the high street and what pupils are seeing on Instagram onto the menus. They’re always nutritional but we treat the pupils like adults when it comes to food and provide a varied menu with as many cuisines as possible. Lunch is two thirty-minute slots, it’s a very fast turnaround but the team work incredibly efficiently – it’s a well-oiled machine. We take on average £1800 a day – I have chef friends who would love to be able to do the same in what is a very short service window.”
With a close-knit team of 12, John’s kitchen works like clockwork to deliver a daily meal deal for just £2.80 per pupil. The kitchen working proficiently and sustainably to meet the daily challenges of school catering.
“Keeping costs down is imperative and we work as smart as we can in the kitchen, that goes from batch cooking to keep food waste to a minimum to recycling. I’ve always used Wrapmaster and take it from kitchen to kitchen. I introduced the Duo to the academy 18 months ago when I discovered they were using the old-fashioned cardboard boxes.”
Taking up 40% less space than two dispensers, the Wrapmaster Duo dispenses two material types from one dispenser and is designed for larger kitchens using high volumes of film, foil and baking parchment.
“The Wrapmaster Duo frees up so much space – it avoids having cardboard cutter boxes scattered all over the kitchen, it’s a real space saver. Another positive is that we don’t use as much cling film as we used to, with the old boxes you wasted loads and the cling film wasn’t as good quality. It’s easy to use and most importantly the team like it.”
With a food hygiene rating of five out of five, Ormiston Horizon Academy received top marks in its last inspection, the dedicated team winning in the battle against cross-contamination and food safety.
“Hygiene and food safety are very important, especially when you’re dealing with pupils and food allergies, we also have members of staff with coeliac disease, so we have to work hard to stay on top and minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
“Cardboard cutter boxes can harbor germs and there’s a big contamination risk. The catering team like Wrapmaster as they don’t fall apart when they get wet and there is no risk of the blades breaking or taking your fingers off. It’s easy to clean and dishwasher proof, the environmental health officers love them too – we get a tick for using Wrapmaster and not the cardboard cutter boxes.”
Built with health and safety in mind, the Wrapmaster Duo has a concealed blade for safe, speedy cutting and is robust and shatter resistant. Recommended by food safety practitioners, it’s also easy to wipe clean during service, and can be easily disinfected in a commercial dishwasher to minimise cross-contamination, as well as help keep kitchens hygienic.
“I can’t fault it,” John adds. “I trust Wrapmaster, it’s very chef-friendly.”
Wrapmaster is part of Cofresco Foodservice, a division of Melitta UK Ltd. The award-winning range includes the new Wrapmaster 3000, Wrapmaster 4500, Wrapmaster Compact, which is designed for kitchens with very limited space or mobile food operations, as well as the Wrapmaster Duo.
“I’ve always trusted Wrapmaster, it’s chef friendly and the EHO love it!”
Director of Catering John Whittle