LACA marathon for NSMW

Respect for the great school lunch

National School Meals Week (NSMW) takes place 13-17 November and is a week celebrating all that is great about school meals. Here’s what’s planned for this year

National School Meals Week (NSMW) takes place 13-17 November and is a week celebrating all that is great about school meals. Run by the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA), there will be a number of high profile activities taking place, with a mixture of political activity and engagement with school caterers, pupils and parents.

In previous years, the event saw governments in Westminster and Cardiff be served a selection of dishes from school menus to highlight the quality of the food and the importance of children having a hot nutritious lunch.

The Ritz hotel in London will be offering a placement on NSMW’s ‘Host a School Chef’ programme.

Now in its fourth year, the scheme offers school chefs the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the catering industry, in some of the most celebrated restaurants in the country.

John Williams MBE, executive chef of the Ritz London, said: “We are delighted to support LACA National School Meals Week and believe it is a great initiative. School chefs are often the unsung heroes of the catering industry, yet do a vital job in ensuring that millions of children every day are eating a heathy, nourishing meal.

“I am a firm believer in sharing knowledge and improving skills, which ultimately benefit all. My team and I are greatly looking forward to a school chef joining us during National School Meals Week and we can assure them of a warm welcome and a unique culinary experience whilst they are with us.”

Also involved are the two Michelin star L’Enclume restaurant and hotel in Cumbria, two Michelin star Raby Hunt Inn and Restaurant near Darlington, Rick Stein’s two Michelin star Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and the Michelin star Walnut Tree in Abergavenny which was voted Wales’ Restaurant of the Year in 2014.

Karen Robinson, a team member of NSMW, will be running the equivalent of five marathons in five days during the week, powered only by school meals.

All ten LACA regions are supporting the events with schools acting as fuel stations along the way.
Karen is looking for LACA members and staff and pupils from the schools involved to join her on the run for a mile or two as she passes through all ten LACA regions.

LACA Chair, Tim Blowers commented: “We are all excited about what is one of the most ambitious and high profile projects LACA NSMW has undertaken and I think the marathons will provide a fantastic platform for positive press messages regarding the value of a nutritious school meal at lunchtime. I am also really pleased that the marathons will help raise awareness, and no doubt funds, for my chosen charity.”

It is a long-standing tradition that each Chair chooses a worthy cause to support and Tim has chosen the British Heart Foundation to be the beneficiaries of his term in office.

Leah Goodhind, BHF Regional Fund Raising Manager for Cheshire, said: “I am really excited to work with Tim and LACA in the next year and for the BHF to be part of NSMW. We wish Tim every success in his year as LACA Chair and I want to say a special thank you to Karen for her brave commitment to run five marathons in the five days of NSMW and help to raise vital funds for the BHF.”

The Soil Association’s Food For Life programme will be running its National Roast Dinner Day on Wednesday 15 November.

Schools and nurseries across the country are encouraged to open their doors to parents, grandparents and members of their local community to enjoy a freshly prepared, locally sourced roast dinner together.

Food for Life will be marking the occasion with lots of great competitions to get involved in. They have also created some great resources to help schools promote their Roast Dinner Day, such as posters and menus.

“Roast Dinner Day is all about celebrating fantastic school catering staff as well as celebrating how far we’ve come in improving school meals across the country,” said Jeanette Orrey, Co-Founder of Food for Life.

National School Meals Week 2017 is sponsored by Kraft Heinz Company. They will be promoting their No Added sugar and reduced salt baked beans and tomato sauce range.

Gemma Jones, national accounts manager for The Kraft Heinz Company said: “I am so excited to be part of LACA’s NSMW; it is such a fantastic event. Kraft Heinz involvement is a great opportunity to showcase our products to the education catering sector and to be part of such high profile activity is terrific. LACA’s continued commitment to children eating healthily is to be commended and Kraft Heinz shares its goals.”

Jones continued: “We have dedicated years of expertise to carefully craft the new and delicious No Added sugar and reduced salt products, a new variety of the nation’s favourite, and we are sure children across the country will really enjoy them as part of their school meals, as we have ensured that the products tick all the boxes regarding the School Food Standards.”

LACA chair of events Neil Porter commented: “LACA is delighted to be working with such a household name as Kraft Heinz and it is a terrific endorsement of our work on National School Meals Week that they are so enthusiastically supporting our activities. On behalf of the LACA Board, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Kraft Heinz and offer our thanks to them for their much-valued sponsorship.”

LACA are asking for picture tweets showing the best examples of school meals with a prize of £500’s worth of marketing resources or equipment for the winning entrant. Entry to #cookeditmyselfie this year is also open to parents and pupils as well as school caterers.

Individual LACA regions and schools will also be organising their own local events for NSMW.

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