Your Story – Rob Cass

By Blogs

The Academy workforce is made up of passionate, knowledgeable and experienced colleagues, who continuously go above and beyond to deliver best in class solutions.

First up is Rob Cass, Operations Manager, who is responsible for our education clients across the south of England. Rob shared his impressive journey from leaving school at 16, to serving the Queen!

Determined to pursue a career as a Chef, Rob left school at 16, where he spent two years honing his craft as an apprentice at the popular York restaurant Russell’s. After moving to Swindon, he spent the following 5 years working within restaurants and hotels in the local area, which led to a Head Chef role at the four-star Marriott hotel. Throughout this time, Rob developed his skills as a chef and became interested in identifying new food trends which had not yet reached the mainstream market. Initially joining Academy as a Head Chef in 2010, Rob’s experience and skillset saw him rise through the company to his current role of Operations Manager.

In his 12 years with Academy, a career highlight for Rob was catering for the Foreign Ministers, translators, police and security attending the Foreign Ministers’ dinner at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama following the 4th of September 2014 NATO summit. The team was headed by Michelin Star chef Stephen Terry, who designed the menu.

“The security was incredible” Rob told us. “Food samples were taken before and after the event so they could be tested for poisons. Behind the plating area were large windows looking onto a park; I remember a helicopter swooping down and sweeping the park with a spotlight for snipers.”

Rob has served Queen Elizabeth II twice, at the Birmingham School of Dentistry and at Priory View assisted living development in Dunstable. He oversaw the first event; from developing menus; hiring equipment; to ensuring the food and service were of the highest quality. In collaboration with our Chef Development team, Rob put together a menu using seasonal produce that was sent to the palace for approval. The team then conducted a tasting day to ensure that the food was to the standard wanted whilst giving the chefs an opportunity to practice in a controlled environment.

“The first time I served the Queen I remember she had Corn Fed Chicken, one of her favourite dishes. The second time, we served Venison; another of her favourite dishes; with Mustard Choucroute, Sloe Gin Jelly and Juniper Jus. She had Smoked Ham Hock Terrine for a starter and a cheese platter with Gloucester Blue and Vintage Cheddar for dessert. The cheese board was served on a wood platter alongside Artisan Biscuits, Chutney and fresh butter piped into miniature milk churns.”

“I had to make sure the specific requirements of the Palace were met. For example, the Queen requested a Gin and Dubonnet cocktail with an entire lemon, which her Lady in Waiting would then slice. The Duke of Edinburgh preferred a pale ale.

After the meal, I met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who both shook my hand and thanked me for the meal. I then introduced them to the team. A few days later we received a letter from the palace complementing the lunch and service.”

In his current role as Operations Manager, Rob visits schools to talk to students about nutrition, allergens and food preparation. Rob also holds talks about why students should consider a career in the hospitality industry. “Throughout my career I have served actors, footballers and pop stars and students at various schools. Working for Academy has provided me various once in a lifetime opportunities that I would have never get to do in a 9 to 5 job.”

Academy supports war hero’s 100th birthday

By Blogs

Academy is very proud to have had the opportunity to provide delicious party food at Salford war hero, Tom Jones, 100th birthday party.

The day was planned and delivered by Mark Morris, Operations Support Manager, with the food specially created by Chris Ince, Chef Director, and Matt Vernon, Executive Business Development Chef, who both also attended the special day to support the onsite team.

Tom was only 17 when the Second World War started. He joined the 2/8 Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers Regiment Tom, operating anti-aircraft guns at the Liverpool docks during the Blitz. He went onto to be deployed for 4 years in Burma, receiving the prestigious Burma Star for his vital work as a wireless operator.

We would like to thank everyone at ForHousing’s Bourke Gardens development for hosting the event, the Lancashire Artillery Band for providing the music, and Tom for giving us the opportunity to celebrate with him.

If you would like to find out more information on Tom’s past or on his birthday celebrations, please click here to read the full ITV article.

Recipe: Bollywood Cauliflower, Green Chilli and Lentil Vegan Sausage Wraps

By Blogs

A spicy dish that is both delicious and good for you. Feeding this vegan treat to your family and friends will make them look at you like the star you are.


(Serves 10)


  • 20 x Heck Bollywood Bangers Vegan Sausages
  • 10g x Dried Cumin
  • 10g x Dried Coriander
  • 1k x Butternut squash
  • 2 x Fresh green chillies
  • 200g x Long Grain Rice
  • 200ml x Vegan Mayonnaise
  • 10g x Mild curry powder
  • 50g x Mango Chutney
  • 10 x 10” Tortilla Wraps
  • 5g x Table Salt
  • 3g x Ground white pepper
  • 25ml x Vegetable oil



  1. Cook the rice as per the instructions on the packet, then drain well
  2. Chop the squash into 1” dice (there is no need to peel the squash)
  3. Toss the squash in vegetable oil, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and shredded green chilli
  4. Mix the curry powder, mango chutney and vegan mayonnaise together until fully incorporated
  5. Place the vegan sausages onto a lined baking tray and bake until piping hot
  6. Season the rice to taste
  7. Spread one side of the tortilla wrap with the spiced mango mayonnaise, and top with the roasted squash and seasoned rice
  8. Add two vegan Bollywood sausages to the top, then fold over each side and roll as tightly as possible

Recipe: Vegan Lemon and Coconut Shortbread  

By Blogs

Makes 10

This Veganuary, try these delicious Vegan Lemon and Coconut Shortbread, which are a perfect treat for all the family. And as well as being both dairy and egg-free, they have the additional benefit of being soy-free too.



  • Plain Flour x 280g
  • Caster Sugar x 95g
  • Caster Sugar x 30g (Dusting)
  • Corn Flour x 3 Tbsp
  • Vegetable Oil x 160ml
  • Lemons x 2 Each
  • Desiccated Coconut x 25g
  • Vanilla Flavouring x 2 Tbsp



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Pour the flour, sugar, desiccated coconut and cornflour into a large bowl and mix well
  3. Add the vanilla flavouring and vegetable oil while continuing to mix well
  4. Now add the lemon zest and lemon juice
  5. Form the mixture into a dough and place into the fridge for 10 minutes
  6. Roll to a thickness of 5mm before cutting into your desired shapes
  7. Place onto a parchment-lined baking tray with plenty of room between each biscuit
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  10. Allow to cool fully before eating

Eat Them to Defeat Them 2021

By Blogs

This year over 4,000 pupils in Academy-run primary schools took part in Veg Power’s ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ which was led by a £3m TV campaign from ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media.

The initiative aims to drive increased vegetable uptake amongst young children in a fun and enjoyable way. The campaign approaches the problem differently, by agreeing that vegetables are bad and that, collectively, we must defeat them by eating them! As a nutritionist working in education, I have found that making vegetables fun increases engagement and willingness to try these foods again.

This year, six different vegetables were featured across six weeks: carrots, peas, sweetcorn, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers. Our chef development team created some fantastic recipes for our sites to use including a roasted vegetable and tomato burrito and a sweetcorn and sweet potato curry. It was great to see children keen to try these new dishes and enjoy them. The 2018 Health Survey for England revealed that less than a fifth of children aged 5-15 years met the five a day recommendation1 so it’s vital we promote these positive experiences.

Our teams also created some brilliant displays for students and some even dressed up as vegetables too!

Stickers were used to reward the children who gave the vegetables a try and a reward chart and puzzle book were provided to encourage them to continue to defeat vegetables at home.

I spoke to our Chef Director, Chris Ince, about the campaign and he said: “Working in education catering gives us the opportunity to positively influence nutrition and be a part of making a real difference to the students, through offering these experiences and increasing awareness of the delicious and health giving benefits of vegetables as part of an everyday diet.”

“It has been incredibly rewarding to see the pupils engage with vegetables as they have done. We received great feedback from students, team members and clients and we can’t wait to get on board with the campaign again, in 2022.”

Louise Goodall – Company Nutritionist



  1. NHS HSE 2018 Survey –


Academy Supports Summer Holiday Project

By Blogs

This summer holiday, Academy, an Atalian Servest company, chefs are supporting the Play Street initiative.

School holidays can be an incredibly difficult time for some families, with schools shut, there may be additional costs that parents need to cover. These extra costs can include food and childcare, which combined with potentially reduced incomes, can result in some children experiencing ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health.

We are happy to be supporting disadvantaged families across the UK, partnering with ForHousing to provide cooking demonstrations at their Play Street sessions. These demonstrations will be for the whole family, providing tips on healthy cooking, as well as providing a free recipe set for them to recreate the meals at home.

Martyn Stockwin, Operations Director, said: “Holiday hunger is a longstanding issue, but it has never been more urgent. The last 18 months have resulted in changing circumstances for many parents, this is why we believe it is more important than ever to support the ForHousing campaign. Our cooking demonstrations will give parents and children the inspiration and knowledge they need to cook healthy recipes at home.”

Chris Ince, Chef Director, said: “As a chef, I know how you can easily create healthy, balanced meals on a low budget. This summer, together with other Academy chefs, I’m looking forward to sharing some tips to help educate and inspire the next generation.”

Hydration is an incredibly important issue during the summer, Academy are pleased to have joined up with Smartwater to provide each attendee at the sessions a free bottle of water to help them stay hydrated.

Play Streets – ForHousing Initiative

Play Streets is an initiative by ForHousing working in partnership with the local community and providers. It is a holiday provision for 5 – 12yr olds that provides a fun and safe place to be active and learn, coupled with the provision of healthy food option to help combat holiday hunger.

The project is aimed at families with children aged 5–12-year-old living in ForHousing neighbourhoods (Eccles, Irlam, Switon, Cadishead, and Little Hulton (Salford), Stockbridge Village (Knowsley), Fitton Hill (Oldham) which are some of the most deprived areas in the North West.

Academy, previously Catering Academy, was founded in 2004 and acquired by the Atalian Servest Group in 2016. Academy is a dynamic, fresh and vibrant catering company that has built a reputation for offering innovative catering and ancillary service solutions to a wide range of clients across the healthcare and education sectors. Academy focuses on providing well balanced, wholesome and tasty meals that support health and wellbeing. As an Atalian Servest company, Academy is backed by world class resources.

National Cereal Day

By Blogs

At Academy, ensuring that tasty and nutritious food is accessible to young people is a priority. Educating young minds on the benefits of a healthy diet is an important factor in encouraging their growth into healthy adults. We aim to promote this learning every day through food engagement, fun marketing and added value in the form of lessons and interactive activities.

Ahead of National Cereal Day on Sunday 7th March, we spoke to our Nutritionist Louise Goodall to find out more about cereals.

What is it about cereals that people don’t know but should?

Unfortunately, cereals are a big contributor of free sugars in both children and teenagers’ diets. High sugar diets can not only lead to weight gain but also tooth decay. Tooth decay can have a huge impact on a child’s life, causing pain, sleepless nights and days off school. Some manufacturers have reduced the amount of sugar added to their products in recent years, but there is still a way to go.

It’s not unknown that breakfast cereals can be high in sugar, less well known or considered is the level of salt in some products. In 2017, a study detailed the reduction in salt content of breakfast cereals in the UK since 2004 but highlighted the need for a continued focus as cereals are still a major contributor to salt intake.

Do cereals do the right job?

It’s easy to pick up a box of cereal in the supermarket which is not as healthy as you would have thought, based on marketing and visual appeal alone. The nutritional information on the packaging will tell you whether you are making a healthier choice, but manufacturers don’t always make it easy to understand at a glance – unless front of pack labelling includes the traffic light rating system (green = low; amber = medium; red = high). It’s also worth bearing in mind that most front of pack labelling is based on a portion size of 30-40g, which may not represent the amount in your bowl.

How can young people benefit from eating breakfast?

Eating breakfast provides you with the fuel for your morning, but unfortunately breakfast is commonly skipped, particularly by adolescents. Although the research behind breakfast being ‘the most important meal of the day’ isn’t clear cut, it’s essential not to skip meals. Regular eating patterns can help to reduce hunger pangs and the likelihood of weight gain.

Research has shown a positive relationship between academic performance and breakfast consumption. A recent study by the University of Leeds reinforces this theory and additionally found that skipping breakfast could be negatively associated with GCSE performance.

What role can parents and teachers play?

It’s important for parents and teachers to lead by example, choosing cereals which are lower in sugar and salt, and a good source of fibre. In this way, eating healthier cereals will be more familiar to children and young people. It’s important to remember that whilst a cereal can be fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, it can also be high in sugar – so always check the nutritional information.

What does a healthy cereal look like for you?

Opting for cereals that contain wholegrain is a great way to ensure you start your day with a good source of fibre and will help you to meet the fibre government recommendations. These were revised in July 2015 and advise 11 to 16-year olds to aim for around 25g of fibre a day, 5 to 11-year olds to aim for around 20g and 2 to 5-year olds to aim for 15g. Examples of higher-fibre cereals include porridge, plain whole-wheat biscuits and plain shredded wholegrain. My go-to cereal is Weetabix but whenever I have a bit more time, I enjoy making a hot bowl of cinnamon porridge with some diced apple or banana mixed in for some sweetness.

We’re Fighting Food Waste

By Blogs

Ugly Vegetables Posters V2

Food waste in the UK is shockingly high, with over 30% of the produce grown in the UK or imported into the country each year going to waste. This happens frequently because it does not fit the physical criteria for suppliers and supermarkets – in other words, it’s too ugly!

According to WRAP (2018), 1.1 million tonnes of food waste is generated by the UK Hospitality and Food Service Sector each year, 75% of which could be avoided. These misshapen and discarded fruits and vegetables contribute to the £1 Trillion of global food waste each year.

As a business we are proud to have saved sixty-two thousand kilos of fresh fruits and vegetables from going to waste during the October to December 2019 trial. When you consider that the average man in the UK weighs sixty-two kilos, it means we have saved the equivalent weight of one thousand people in just three months … pretty impressive!

Our Executive Development Chef for B&I, Dan Kirkpatrick, gives an insight into the campaign and its effects.

What has your journey been like?

Dan K

I started my journey five years ago with Academy, before the business was acquired by Atalian Servest. I moved from a Regional Development Chef position with Academy, to Executive Development Chef in January 2019.

What is it about food wastage that people don’t know but should?

Food waste is a critical issue across the globe which requires immediate action. I think the facts speak for themselves; one-third of the produce grown in the UK each year doesn’t leave the field often because it is deemed as ugly, even though it tastes the same as its more beautiful siblings.

Food waste costs £1 Trillion globally each year and a quarter of the world’s food waste – 900 million tonnes – would end world hunger. The average UK household wastes £700 on food each year. And it’s not just food that gets wasted, a quarter of the worlds water supply each year, is needed to produce the amount of food we currently waste.

How did the ‘Ugly Vegetables’ project start?

While researching and writing Wasteline, our in-house food waste manual, I was stunned by some of the facts and statistics which I stumbled across, and I had to do something about it. How can it be right that there are people dying from hunger, yet we are turning perfectly good produce over in a field because it’s too fat or too long? It’s utter madness!

I decided we should start close to home, and for me that meant supporting local British farmers. We teamed up with our fresh fruit and vegetable supplier to work out a plan of action! Working closely together, we devised a plan to work with local farmers to offer them a fair price for the 40% of their produce which doesn’t even leave the field. We decided upon a trial period for all parties involved and chose twelve seasonal fruits and vegetables for the October – December festive period.

We prevented sites from ordering Class One alternatives and created one hundred recipes using the Ugly Fruit and Vegetable range to help everyone to get involved. During this trial period, Atalian Servest saved sixty-two thousand kilos of fresh fruits and vegetables from going to landfill. I guess you could say that the trial has been a success for all parties!

How has the business benefitted from this?

Initially we received our fair share of criticism for switching to what is effectively a Class Two product. Our fresh fruit and vegetable supplier team joined us at all our Winter Roadshows, showcasing the full range of our twelve selected product lines to our teams. Once everybody had seen the products for themselves, they simply couldn’t believe that these items would even be considered as Class Two. This was an important turning point for us as a business as our colleagues got on board fully with the initiative.

I worked with our in-house Marketing and Design team to create customer facing posters to be displayed across the catering division with hard-hitting facts about global food waste. We especially highlighted how unnecessary it is to waste perfectly edible produce. Our customers started to understand why we had acted, and the buy-in has been nothing short of fantastic!

Our business and our customers have benefited massively from the Ugly Veg initiative, as we have all been involved in simply “doing the right thing”. There is an upwards trend in people changing their lifestyles to benefit the environment, and our campaign helps our customers make better choices that have a positive impact on the planet.

Atalian Servest should be proud that collectively we have saved the same weight as 2,186,988 bananas from going to landfill, in just three months. We are now looking at ways of how best to communicate these savings across our business, and to continue the initiative.

Thank You Graphic-01

What impact do you think the sites have had?

Our sites have been the real superstars throughout this whole process, as without their commitment we simply wouldn’t have been able to get this off the ground and make such a difference. From using one of our one hundred Ugly Veg recipes, to creating their own fantastic dishes, our teams have really got on board with all things Ugly. Our onsite teams should be celebrated for showing our customers that Ugly means tasty!

How important is it to raise awareness?

I believe that food waste is an incredibly important topic and I am proud that the business also thinks so. From workshops to roadshows and presentations, it has been heart-warming to see people’s reactions to the changes we are making. When our customers hear facts such as twenty-one million slices of bread are thrown away across the UK every single day, it’s very hard hitting and like us they feel compelled to do something about it. Raising awareness means a real difference has been made.

What’s next?

I am currently working with our key fresh fruit and vegetable supplier to increase the Ugly range and we are looking to introduce new seasonal lines. We are working hard towards our aim of having a food waste day every single week across the division. Our as yet untitled daily concept will allow sites to choose from a recipe database using that month’s Ugly produce range. This will include simple soups, bold soups, meat main courses, vegetarian and vegan main courses, desserts and home bakes.


By Blogs

Louise Goodall, Company Nutritionist  

How can I boost my immune system through my diet?

COVID-19 has now been a declared a pandemic, leaving many of us worried about our health and wellbeing. If you were to do a quick Google search, you would find lots of results of websites listing foods which claim to be able to boost your immune system. However, you cannot “boost” your immune system with different foods or supplements.

That being said, there are lots of nutrients that play an essential role in maintaining the normal function of your immune system like vitamin C, zinc and iron. It’s important to eat a variety of foods for a healthy balanced diet, which ultimately will support immune function.

Following a healthy balanced diet helps to reduce your risk of malnutrition which, is a major public health issue. Malnutrition can compromise your immune system, putting you at increased risk of general illness and infection. Certain groups of people are more at risk of malnutrition than others, including older people over the age of 65 and those who are socially isolated.

What does a healthy balanced diet look like?

The Eatwell Guide was published in March 2016 to demonstrate the proportions in which different foods and drinks should be consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet. It applies to everyone over the age of 2, regardless of weight, dietary restrictions/preferences or ethnic origin. Although, anyone with special dietary requirements or medical needs should ask to be referred to a registered dietitian to discuss how to adapt the guide.

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and antioxidants – all of which are required for good health. We should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day; a portion is approximately 80g. Examples of portions include:

  • 3 tbsp of vegetables or pulses, e.g. carrots, peas, chickpeas or beans.
  • A medium-sized apple or banana, two smaller fruits, e.g. plums.
  • 150ml fruit/veg juice or smoothie once per day.
  • Tinned and frozen are perfectly good alternatives to fresh. When choosing tinned, choose fruit in juice over syrup, and vegetables in water over salted water.

Evidence shows having your five a day can reduce the risk of some cancers and depression, while also protecting against cardiovascular disease.

Carbohydrate Consumption

Choose wholegrain varieties of starchy carbohydrates to help you achieve the recommendation of 30g of fibre a day for adults. Whole grains are great sources of fibre, B vitamins and some trace minerals, e.g. iron and copper, all are required for the normal functioning of the body.


It is recommended we drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day. Dehydration can cause feelings of dizziness, lethargy, poor concentration and a dry mouth. Longer-term consequences can include urinary tract infections, kidney stones and constipation.

Other Considerations

Public Health England advice recommends adults and children over one year consider taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D, particularly during autumn and winter.

This is because it is difficult for us to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from just our diet; our primary source is vitamin D is from being exposed to sunlight. People whose skin has little to no exposure to the sun, such as those who are housebound, should look to take a supplement throughout the year.

Don’t forget to stay active. Adults are recommended to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Regular exercise has many benefits, including reducing your risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. Additionally, it has been shown to improve quality of life, manages stress and improves sleep.

And Remember…

It is vital that any nutrition advice you follow is evidence-based and comes from reliable sources and registered professionals such as Public Health England, the NHS, Registered Nutritionists, Registered Dietitians and other qualified professionals. It’s also worth considering whether the writers have any conflicts of interest, like being sponsored by a supplement company.


  1. BDA -
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