The Mount School in York gets an A* for its food

Pupils from years 3 and 4 Mount School , York enjoy a real bread making session with James Goodwin

Pupils from years 3 and 4 Mount School , York enjoy a real bread making session with James Goodwin - Credit: Tony Bartholomew

School meals just aren’t what they used to be. And thank heavens for that. Where once there was lumpy mash and custard you had to slice with a hacksaw, now there is delicious, healthy food.

And it’s all down to people like James Goodwin, 37, chef manager at The Mount who has just scooped the accolade of Independent School Caterer of the Year at the annual EDUcatering Awards at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington.

Principal Julie Lodrick joined the throng congratulating the school’s kitchen staff on this well-deserved win: ‘James and his team have worked incredibly hard to provide the school community with an extremely high standard of food.

‘This sounds much simpler than it is. In a busy school, we have many and varied nutritional needs, food intolerances and levels of allergies. James and his team provide outstanding catering to our entire spectrum of nutritional needs.’

Many students supported James’ nomination. Sixth former Celia Wood even compared his team’s dishes to those of a top-flight restaurant brigade.

‘The chefs are so inventive and the menus are so creative,’ she said. ‘We always have something different every week, all of which you could find on a restaurant menu. There are also many healthy options and I think it’s fantastic how they make such an effort to incorporate seasonal ingredients.’

James, perhaps not surprisingly, was delighted by his win: ‘This is the greatest vote of confidence I could wish for, not just for myself but for my team who work so hard to make things happen at The Mount.

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‘I get great support from Chris Kirk, my head chef. His knowledge and experience is second to none and he works well with the rest of the staff and helps to train two or three chefs on a day-to-day basis.

‘I also get great support from head office at Wilson Vale. My line manager, Phil Hindmarch, helps to push any good ideas forward, such as the Real Bread initiative, and is always helpful with different ways to support us.

‘And last but not least, it’s great to be working with such an understanding client who shares our healthy eating ethos and enthusiastically supports our initiatives. This award is shared by all.’

Carolyne Vale, joint managing director of Wilson Vale, believes James’ primary role as father to a young family gives him great insight into how to engage with children, particularly when it comes to stimulating their taste buds.

‘It also helps that he’s a natural communicator,’ she added. ‘His relationship with staff and the pupils continues to flourish and he has made food an integral and exciting part of daily life at the school. He deserves recognition for his constant effort to improve food and service standards and for his ability to engage at all levels to make good food exciting and desirable.’

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