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LACA Autumn Seminar

Doubletree Hilton Stoke-on-Trent
Etruria Hall
Festival Way
11 Oct 2022 - 11 Oct 2022



Arrival, registration and coffee

Welcome and aims of the day
LACA Update - Brad Pearce, LACA National Chair
Brad Pearce will provide an overview of key policy issues; current LACA activity and set out the aims for the day.

LACA School Chef of the Year
School Chef of the Year 2022 Tom Armstrong and Lee Taylor, Regional Finalist (West Midlands) will discuss their experience in this year’s competition; the new opportunities it has already afforded them and encourage members to consider entering the 2023 competition.

Tom, who is Chef Manager at Shelley College in Huddersfield and works for Mellors Catering Services, won the title in the SCOTY final held at the Main Event in July.  Lee Taylor is Chef Manager at John Gulson Primary School and Nursery in Coventry and represented the West Midlands in this year’s final.

National School Meals Week (NSMW) update
Nigel Argyle
Nigel Argyle joins us to talk more about plans for National Schools Meals Week, 7th - 11th November 2022.

This year's theme is 'Together, we make a Difference' showcases the great work that school caterers are undertaking to lessen our sector's impact on the planet.  With five theme days and plenty of free downloadable resources this year's NSMW is an ideal way to highlight how school caterers are tackling key environmental issues such as reducing food miles; looking at innovative ways to tackle food waste; and increasing the range of plant-based foods that can be enjoyed as part of a school meal.

An overview of the forthcoming T-Level Technical Qualification in Catering
Dominic Binks, Highfield Qualifications
In 2021, Highfield Qualifications were chosen by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) as the Awarding Organisation to develop and deliver the T Level Technical Qualification in Catering.

T Levels are an alternative to A levels, apprenticeships and other 16 to 19 courses. They focus on the needs of the sector and employers and ensure that learners have the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to make an immediate splash in their chosen sector. They also allow learners to take on an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days) in their chosen sector, to better prepare them for starting their career on the right foot.

Dominic will provide an update on the T Level Technical Qualification in Catering and explain how employers can get involved to support delivery of this new qualification from September 2023.

Coffee break


Clever Chefs - case study
Nick Collins, Founder & Director
Nick Collins shares the story of Cleverchefs.  Originally founded as a wedding and events caterer in 2015 to change the way wedding and event food was produced his innovative approach saw the company go from catering 40 weddings in the first year of trading to 480 in year five.  Nick then took the decision to branch out and apply his successful formula to school food with the goal of ensuring that good food is served in every school they work in delivered by a happy team who have the skills to create food to a high standard.  Cleverchefs now has partnerships with over 40 schools  - a mix of primary, secondary and colleges including some independent schools.

Top Tips for reducing energy bills in School Kitchens
Julian Edwards, Chair, FCSI
With the recent announcement in the ‘mini-budget’ of the Energy Business Relief Scheme (EBRS) for businesses and other non-domestic customers in England, Scotland and Wales, with a similar scheme to shortly be announced for Northern Ireland, there will be some support for schools via a discount on gas and electricity unit prices. Nonetheless, with this scheme set to run initially from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2023, some exclusions set to apply and prices still increasing, it remains incredibly important to look at ways that energy bills can be reduced in School Kitchens so that schools can continue to operate as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

Julian Edwards from the FCSI will share their expertise in this field and some top tips for reducing school energy bills with a focus on energy usage and monitoring; cooking wisely; equipment options to save energy and a look at the indirect costs that impact energy usage such as waste and water.

Wellbeing Session - Positive Thinking in Difficult Times
Mikey Markham
There are many challenges currently facing everyone working in school catering from operational concerns about the cost of food, energy and other essential supplies and shortages of staff to the psychological impact that ongoing pressures both in the workplace and at home due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis  and the Covid-19 pandemic are having on ourselves and our teams.

With his gift for incredibly moving and honest poetry, his natural enthusiasm and his passion to help young people aim so much higher, Mikey Markham – AKA the performance poet Rhythmical Mike joins us to share his story and the power of the spoken word to help us think more positively about the many challenges currently facing school caterers and the children we feed on a daily basis.  After all, sometimes it takes a dyslexic school failure with a gift for capturing the spirit of life in his words, and then turning those words into feelings, to help us all realise how we can all raise our game in the world of education.

Sponsor showcases


Regional Content

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Archive calendar