SUCCESS was firmly on the menu for a city school catering manager.
Darren Cowell, who is the catering manager at Sunderland’s St Anthony’s RC School and the city’s St Aidan’s RC School, beat hundreds of others to be highly commended in the School Caterer of the Year category of the national awards for school support staff.
Unfortunately, Darren was unable to attend the glittering prize ceremony at London in October, so Tracy Gray, a trustee of the National Association of School Business Managers, which was one of the sponsors, went along to St Anthony’s to present him with his glass trophy and certificate.
Monica Shepherd, headteacher at St Anthony’s, said: “Darren has worked very hard with an excellent catering team, within the limitations of the existing buildings, to enhance the environment, train staff and deliver an excellent food service in line with national standards for students and staff.
“Staff and students are delighted that Darren has won this national award.”
She said Darren has worked with a number of other members of staff, including Jane Everett, food technology teacher and consultant, Karen Hearn, school nutritionist and food technology teacher and Gill Faith, school business manager, to deliver a service which has transformed school meals at the Thornhill Terrace school.
Food in school continues to be a priority for staff and students at St Anthony’s, who take part in numerous projects and competitions.
Darren’s team has undertaken additional NVQ qualifications and two members of the team have recently won awards at the City of Sunderland College.
Over the years, St Anthony’s has been involved in a number of food-related initiatives, including Licence to Cook, Five a Day, Food Hygiene Training and Food and Nutrition Training for the Primary Care Trust.
The school has also run a project called Cooking for University, aimed at preparing sixth formers for living away from home and a number of Cook It contests have taken place at the school.
Also, pupils from the secondary school have taken part in Kitchen Chemistry in association with the regional Science Research Centre at Framwellgate Moor in Durham, which the School Nutrition Action Group, composed of students, helped to set up.
l Throughout this week, pupils in Years, 7, 8 and 9 at St Anthony’s will be taking part in enterprise days.
One of their tasks will be to create a a model of what they think should be put on a section of the city’s Vaux site.
They will have to present their ideas to a panel of local entrepreneurs, where they will have to explain and justify their decisions in a short presentation.