What happened during NSMW14?
17/12/2014 - 16:25

This year being the 21st anniversary of NSMW, it was LACA’s ambition to pull out all the stops to ensure the week would be one to remember. NSMW13 had been very successful in terms of PR, press coverage and school caterer participation, therefore it was important to capitalise on the good work that had been done to make NSMW 2014 an even more memorable and high profile event.

The launch of Universal Infant Free School Meals and LACA’s pivotal role in the delivery of UIFSM, strengthened links with various partners who could also support the NSMW message and celebrate all that the industry does to put the ‘great’ in to great school lunches on a daily basis.  

What happened during NSMW14?

• A pop up kitchen was placed on Old Palace Yard, opposite the House of Commons, with MP’s, Lords and the public at large invited to taste and enjoy great school food.
A fabulous menu of Organic Beef Jamaican Pie with Mash, Valencia Salmon Paella, Sweet Potato Curry with Roti Bread, Salmon Teriyaki, Arabian Lamb with Rice and  Cheesy Leek Pasta plus Tutti Frutti Crumble and Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce was served by LACA’s Award Winning Chefs to hundreds of passersby, all of whom were thoroughly impressed with what they tasted.

To add to the proceedings the Head Teacher and some of the pupils from Malden Manor Primary School, in the London borough of Kingston, were in attendance to help give a really authentic feel to the event. The day was an outstanding success even though it seemed somewhat surreal winching a 5 ton kitchen pod into place at 8.30 in the morning to serve school meals in one of the world’s most iconic locations!!

Pictured right is Minister of State for Schools David Laws, with SCOTY 2014 Winner Tanya Watkin, LACA Chair Carrieanne Bishop and pupils from Malden Manor.

• High profile personalities got behind the event to support key messages regarding great school food to help address outdated perception.

NSMW couldn’t have got off to a better start than the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launching the week by cooking for school pupils with Raymond Blanc in Oxford. Then followed a school visit to Kent where he met Lorraine Pascale and cooked for pupils in Haringey. Gregg Wallace of Masterchef judge fame visited Minster CPE School in Kent to discuss the journey of food from allotment to plate. Others who got involved were Gary Rhodes, Brian Turner, the team of Channel 4’s Countdown, Steve Wright, Chris Evans and many more.

Pictured left is Gregg Wallace in the Minster School’s vegetable garden with some of the children from the school’s gardening club.

• School caterers working in top class venues, enjoying the opportunity to show off just how professional school caterers are.

More than 65 School chefs swapped their usual school kitchen for one of many high profile venues across England and Wales to show off their professionalism. Venues included the House of Commons restaurant, the restaurant in the Gherkin, Harrods, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, Premiership Football Clubs across England, Soughton Hall in North Wales, Chilli Pickle in Brighton, the Michelin star Stageside restaurant at the Hippodrome in Birmingham and so on. The chefs had a great time and there are many ‘return visits’ now planned where chefs from the venues will be cooking in schools. 

Pictured right is Liz Hughes of Compass with Stephane Delourme, head chef at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow when Liz visited during NSMW.

• A celebration of 25 years of LACA – a room and display being set aside within Portcullis House in Westminster.

Many MPs accepted an invite to attend to see the good work LACA has done, and continues to do, and better understand the journey the industry has been on and recognise  the hard work of those who have ‘made it happen’.

• New theme days - a number of new theme days’ resources were made available in English and Welsh and we were delighted the Food for Life Partnership ran their National Roast Dinner Day during NSMW.

• Communication - the press and publicity during and since the week has been tremendous. From discussions on National TV and Radio and Regional papers supporting the event, to a great deal of activity on social media, we have been delighted to see the key messages catching the imagination of the press at large.

• Whilst NSMW is behind us, the ongoing work of promoting all that is ‘great’ about school lunches continues.
There are ongoing school chef placement opportunities, FREE theme day resources available and other high profile activity planned throughout 2015.

To tell us what you did during NSMW and for more information, pictures and videos of NSMW14 visit