The Huddersfield caterers take first prize with innovation award winner Michaela Booth (centre) The Huddersfield caterers with innovation award winner Michaela Booth (centre)

…and Catering Operations Manager Michaela Booth receives the Innovation Award

THE catering team at the University of Huddersfield has tasted more success.  At a ceremony in London it came away with two awards, further recognition for a service that has rapidly turned itself into one of the best in its sector.

The event was the Cost Sector Catering Awards, which have been held for the past 25 years, and are especially prestigious because they cover almost every aspect of the industry in the UK.

Huddersfield Catering Services were announced as winners of the University/College Award, while Catering Operations Manager Michaela Booth received the Innovation Award, in recognition of the transformation she has helped to bring about since her appointment 24 months ago.

The twin CSC awards follow the Team of the Year Award received by Huddersfield at the 2017 conference of TUCO, the professional membership body for in-house caterers in the higher and further education sector.

The Cost Sector Catering Awards had an audience of 700 at the Hilton London Metropole.  The MC was TV and radio personality Gyles Brandreth.  The only disappointment for the University of Huddersfield contingent was that Head Chef Lee Allsup was pipped at the post for the Chef of the Year category for which he had been shortlisted.

But later in the year he stands to scoop an award of his own, as a nominee for top Public Sector Chef in the ceremony organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Among the party from Huddersfield at the awards was Assistant Director of Estates and Facilities Heather Whitehead, who was delighted by the recognition of the University’s Catering Services, which has a 70 strong staff – plus 25 part-time student workers – and operates 11 outlets on the campus.

Under the Michaela’s leadership – she can boast more than 20 years’ experience of catering in the education sector – together with the teamwork shown by all our staff, the service has seen major transformation.

Alongside a large increase in sales, the service maintains its high standards through a twice-yearly independent audited by a specialist consultancy, which now awards marks of more than 90 per cent and bestows a gold rating.

Heather Whitehead commented: “The awards recognise the hard work and achievement of every member of the Catering Services, as well as the support and investment of University senior managers, who gave Michaela and the team the chance and believed in what they could deliver.

“We see this as an important milestone in the journey but there is still so much more that we want to achieve at Huddersfield.  The University is growing with new buildings opening almost every year and we want to ensure that brilliant catering is at the heart of each new development to enhance the overall student experience on campus.”