I didn’t think it could get any busier than September but it did on a LACA and ‘day job’ front.  As October dawned I found myself heading to the East Midlands Convention Centre to attend the National Association of Care Catering Training and Development Event (1st – 3rd).  A great conference as our industry ones always are, but Rosemary Shraeger was a real highlight and a little crazy!

As my September diary announced we were back in the swing of the UIFSM Road shows and I found myself travelling the country updating members on the amazing progress we’ve all made.  We shared the load a little more this time round so Durham on the 6th and Newmarket on the 9th was my responsibility.

During this year’s Main Event Unilever hosted the heats for the Big School Bake Off which was a huge success.  On Oct 7th I headed to their offices in Leatherhead to join Anne Bull and Jo Wheatley on the judging team.  The standard was exceptional and the day and evening awards giving quite emotional at times.  Congratulations to Sarah Medicott from Torbay who was the inaugural winner.  Look out for an update on the 2015 competition early next year.

Things were happening at a real pace now and from the 13th to the 16th of October I was almost entirely on LACA business.  13th was the Educatering Awards, congratulations to a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award for Anne Bull.  14th/15th I flew to Belfast to join our colleagues in Northern Ireland at the NISCA conference.  16th I was invited to Exercise Joint Caterer by the Defence Food Services team who hold an inter services cooking competition, I was lucky enough to be fed by the Army’s top chefs (I was an Army caterer myself a few years back) who produced an incredible meal, with the highlight being a Raspberry and salted caramel dessert that is impossible to describe sufficiently effusively.

Nearly done now!  23rd/24th I was at the Chesford Grange Hotel to attend the LACA events committee planning meeting with Neil Porter and team and then the LACA Business Partners meeting in the afternoon.  Both meetings were incredibly productive and I look forward to telling you all more about the event plans over the coming few weeks.  As always we are really grateful to our business partners who are so supportive of what we do and the meeting only added to our sense of truly working together to improve the catering provision in our great industry. 

The following morning we all attended the LACA Autumn National Seminar.  Some great speakers as always and it proved interesting to start looking at the next steps on our journey following the introduction of UIFSM.  New public sector buying guidelines were covered and fascinatingly Michael Hales from Tower Hamlets explained how they have managed to achieve free school meals for all infants before we have even started properly debating it.  Thank you to all the speakers; it was a fascinating and very useful day.

National School Meals Week next month, I suspect things aren’t going to quieten down just yet!


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