Students and staff at Manchester Health Academy have been sampling the new menu this week, as independent catering company T(n)S take over the food reigns in the newly rebranded “Refresh and Refuel” dining room.
The Academy’s commitment to providing a healthy learning environment means that a healthy menu has always been a priority. With students eating 190 lunches at school each year, the meals provided are potentially a significant part of their diet.
Strategic Finance and Corporate Services Director, Louise Staunton says “Healthy eating needs to go further than telling students and staff to eat more salad and less junk food. Food should be one of life’s pleasures and good, healthy food that tastes amazing can have wellbeing benefits as well as simply fuelling the body. We want our students to be nurtured and cared for, and we chose T(n)S as our new catering service because of their ethos of preparing healthy food from scratch. We were impressed that all their senior team are trained chefs so the focus really is on the quality and flavour of the food. ”
The kitchen team, headed by Maureen Jackson, remain the same, and bring their wealth of experience and the same friendly service, with more freedom to work with the T(n)S chefs to produce food that the students really enjoy. Prices remain very competitive at £2.50 for a meal deal that includes a hot main course, drink and desert, and it is hoped that students will take advantage of eating more main meals at school, and find new foods that they enjoy.
Maureen says “The students have taken to the new food well, and it is a pleasure to see them trying some different flavours. I’m very proud of my team who have all worked very hard on the transition to our new service.”
Jack Sturdy, Operations Manager at T(n)S, says “It has been an absolute delight to work with Maureen and her team over the past few months. They have had to deal with a huge amount of change, and have truly risen to the challenge. Our home-cooked recipes require a lot more preparation of fresh produce, as well as new ways of presentation. I am very happy with how our first day of service went – the main course sold out! I hope that students and staff of the Academy enjoy discovering more of what we have to offer.”
With more fresh produce in the mix, T(n)S source fruit and vegetables, butchery and bakery items locally, and certainly from within a 25 mile radius of the location. Sauces are made from scratch, using slowly cooked vegetables to provide natural sweetness, and vegetarian options are available every day. As well as main hot meals, jacket potatoes and pasta, students can choose quicker lunches from the Eat Street bar, such as noodles, warm salads and the eagerly awaited Yorkitto, a Sunday roast served in a Yorkshire pudding wrapped like a burrito.
Feedback has been positive – Year 8 student Kieran said “I had the warm chicken salad from the Eat Street servery – it was really juicy, you can tell the difference”, while Ali, Year 9, said “I had the curry with roasted peppers and pak choi yesterday, it tasted very fresh and exciting – this is the food I have been waiting for”.