World Environment Day

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At Academy we are committed to reducing our environmental impact.

One of the ways we do this is by having our waste oil reprocessed into renewable, low carbon biodiesel.

Last year, Academy and Angel Hill had 178 tonnes of waste oil reprocessed into biodiesel which is the equivalent of taking 1,719 cars off the road and the co2 that these cars would have produced.

Henry Watts, Managing Director – Catering, said: “Reducing our impact on the environment wherever we can is incredibly important to us. Our business is reliant on the seasons and the countryside so we work hard to ensure we make a positive impact where we can.

“We have been having our waste oil repurposed for the last 15 years and last year were proud to have taken the equivalent of 1,719 cars off the road.”

We work with Olleco who collect and reprocess our waste oil.

Academy Launches Recipe Book

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Academy, the specialist education and healthcare contract caterer, has launched a new recipe book for school children and parents designed to allow parents to cook healthy, low-cost meals and get families cooking together at home. It will also raise vital funds to help tackle holiday hunger.

Academy’s chef manager and LACA and StrEAT Foods finalist, Lee Taylor, at John Gulson Primary School in Coventry, spearheaded the recipe book initiative. He compiled the nutritionally balanced, low-cost recipe book with dishes that he loves to cook for students. The recipe book is branded with hero characters to make learning about food and cooking fun.

Academy, which believes in providing healthier choices and recognises the need for fresh, sustainable food offers, in conjunction with John Gulson primary school in Coventry, has launched its recipe book today by gifting 500 families a goodie bag containing a copy of the recipe book together with enough ingredients to cook 16 children’s meals. The goodie bag will also include a bottle of Smartwater and some fresh fruit. In total, Academy have provided 8,000 meals for children.

The recipe book is also available to purchase more broadly. 50% of the profits will be returned to John Gulson Primary School to continue investment into the school’s catering service, and 50% will be allocated to purchasing ingredients for schools where the issue of holiday hunger and food insecurity is high. Academy’s recipe book is available to purchase from £3.

Lee Taylor, chef manager at Academy said: “It’s a great privilege to have been able to drive this initiative forwards. The right nutrition is absolutely fundamental for children and no child should have to go hungry. Poor nutrition and hunger affects how children learn in school and also impacts the future of their health. I am committed to doing all I can to educate children and parents about the importance of nutritionally balanced meals and ensuring they have the support they need to provide them.

“It’s very heart-warming to know that proceeds from this book will go towards stocking parents’ cupboards with the aim of reducing holiday hunger.”

Henry Watts, Managing Director at Academy, said: “Academy is so passionate about looking after the welfare of children and Lee Taylor is a shining example of this. He puts the children at John Gulson Primary School at the centre of everything he does.

“We are so proud of this initiative and the scope it has to make a positive impact on children and parents across the country, as well as raising funds to support holiday hunger, and for children at John Gulson Primary School through investment in the catering service.”

Academy Chef Wins Regional Finals

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Lee Taylor, Chef Manager at John Gulson Primary School has been crowned the winner of the West Midlands regional heat of the LACA School Chef of the Year 2022, securing his place at the national finals taking place in July.

During the competition, the chefs are challenged to create healthy and nutritious meals aimed at 11-year-old school children. Within the 1 hour 45-minute time limit, chefs were asked to prepare, cook and present a grab & go savoury snack, costing just 60p per head. They are also challenged to create a main course and dessert, costing a total of £1.40 per head. All dishes had to meet the School Food Standards and Eat Well Guide, and use at least one Quorn product, who sponsored the event.

Lee served a grab & go offer of Aloo Chaat Masala with cooked roti chips. For the main course, he served Keema cottage pie with chana masala served with an Indian pickled slaw and sour cream & mint dip. Finally, continuing with the Indian inspired dishes, he served a dessert of Indian spiced apple crumble with mango ice cream and fruit coulis.

Reflecting on the experience, Lee said “The inspiration came from the pupils within my primary school – we ran a mini competition to see what would be popular. We often use Quorn products within the dishes as these can be enjoyed by most of the pupils we serve due their religious beliefs. We have even used Quorn in the dessert as an emulsifier to make the dish as creamy as possible.”

Kevin Green, Operations Director, Academy said: “We are thrilled for Lee who has once again proved triumphant in the School Chef of the Year competition and for securing his place in the final. Lee is an incredibly talented individual and is a credit to Academy and his community. This is a wonderful achievement for him, and we will be fully supporting him in the final.”

The national final will be held at the LACA Main Event on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th July at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole with the overall winner announced on the evening of Thursday 7th July.

Academy Chef takes on the International Salon Culinaire 2022

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We would like to wish Jenny Brown, Chef Manager at Sarum Academy, the best of luck at the finals today.

The International Salon Culinaire, which takes place at ExCeL London from 21st to 23rd March, is the definitive event for the foodservice and hospitality industry, attracting exhibitors and visitors from around the world. It sees top chefs pit their finely honed skills against each other across a diverse range of competition categories.

Jenny will be competing in LT5 Aslop & Walker Live Cheese Starter at 4pm against 9 other chef competitors from all over the catering industry. Jenny will be cooking ‘A foragers taste of Lord London cheese’ which includes a Lord London cheese mousse and Iberico ham wafer served with pickled wild garlic buds & walnut pesto, foraged woodland mushrooms, warm cob nuts and black truffle.


Matt Vernon, Executive Business Development Chef, said: ‘’It’s an amazing achievement by Jenny to reach the final of International Salon Culinaire 2022. Jenny has always gone above and beyond, from her time in the culinary classroom where she embraced it wholeheartedly, to sharing her culinary knowledge by way of delivering informative teaching sessions to the students at Sarum Academy. She is a true credit to work Academy, she is passionate about the service she provides and I’m in no doubt will give it her all. Practice makes perfect, that’s why I’m confident she will get the recognition she deserves in the final of the Salon Culinaire’’

Chris Ince, Chef Director, said: “We’re super proud of Jenny, she’s a talented chef who over the years has not only provided a great service to the students at Sarum Academy, but has also been consistently willing to participate in wider industry events outside of her day job.
To reach a live theatre final at the International Salon Culinaire is a fantastic achievement. We’re very lucky to be working with her. All the best to you Jenny – bring it home chef!”

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‘You’re a Star’ awards Recognise Catering Excellence

At the start of 2020 we launched the You’re A Star recognition awards together with our C&I catering brand Angel Hill.

We held our virtual awards in July to recognise the incredible talent in our business that has prevailed during the global pandemic.

Awards were presented in person over the course of the last few weeks. Each of the winners from our Healthcare and Education teams were given a ‘You’re a Star’ certificate and £1,000 shopping vouchers.

2021 ‘You’re a Star’ winners:

  • Keiron Woodward, Chef Manager, Academy Education.

Keiron is very highly regarded by client-side personnel. He has guided the contract through a period of positive transition and tackles any challenge with humour. With his ‘can-do’ attitude and positive energy, he is often called upon to support other sites.

  • David Lambie, Chef Manager, Academy Healthcare

David constantly goes the extra mile and he really cares about his role and the service he offers. He is a great support to his team members, taking a vested interest in their success and happiness.

Keiron Woodward, Chef Manager, Academy Education said: “Working as part of the Academy team at Maghull High School has been an amazing experience. My success is down to the team I work with and I am proud of all we have achieved together.”

Martyn Stockwin, Operations Director at Atalian Servest Food Co, UK & Ireland said: “Recognising great work is always at the heart of what we do and I wanted to say a huge congratulations to all the monthly winners over the last year, as well as our deserving finalists. Working in the contract catering sector is tough on any normal day, however we have been working in unprecedented times through the last 16 months. The pandemic has affected everyone in some way both professionally and personally – therefore our ‘You’re a Star’ awards have been so fundamental.

“We cannot achieve what we do as a business without the dedication and commitment that we see from our teams. The willingness and desire to continually go above and beyond the call of duty is one of the great foundations that allows us to provide a fantastic quality food service, grow our business and retain our clients. I thank everyone for playing their part in our mission to exceed our clients’ and customer’s expectations every day.”

Kieron is pictured with Davina Aspinall, Head at Maghull High School.

Academy saves more than 200,000 kilos of ‘ugly veg’

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Academy, together with its sister B&I catering brand, Angel Hill, has saved 227,366 kilos – that’s the equivalent of fifteen London buses – of ‘ugly veg’ from going to waste in the last 18 months. The firm’s ‘ugly veg’ campaign has made use of more than 77,000 items of fruit and veg, saving ‘ugly’ peppers, white cabbage, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, oranges, apples that would otherwise have been discarded or sold for a poor price.

Academy and Angel Hill ramped up sustainability measures and now only purchase fruit and vegetables that are deemed ‘ugly’ or ‘wonky’ wherever possible. The contract caterers made the switch in the autumn of 2019, as a means of tackling the vast global issue of food waste in line with the company’s increasing focus on CSR. Their prerogative is to support UK farmers, helping them achieve a fair price and route to market for their yield. On average, farmers struggle to sell 16% of their annual crop yield for purely aesthetic reasons. In the UK, 70 per cent of the total food wasted is edible.

Over the last 18 months Academy and Angel Hill have worked closely with their quality fresh produce providers to expand the variety of ‘ugly veg’ and adapt their menus to introduce even more seasonal lines. A fully comprehensive recipe portfolio is being developed for all sites which utilises each month’s seasonal ‘ugly’ produce. Dishes will include soups, meat, vegetarian and vegan main courses, desserts and home bakes. Seasonal produce is front and centre of Academy and Angel Hill’s food concepts and initiatives.

The education, healthcare and B&I caterers regularly promote ‘ugly’ meals across all sites, highlighting the issues of food waste to customers and educating and empowering them to make choices which reduce their own individual food waste.

With this programme already firmly embedded in the business, the aim is to further inform on-site teams, clients and customers alike about the issue of food waste and to equip the caterers’ food production teams with practical tips and great recipes to use as part of their daily offer.

Fresh vegetables make up the largest proportion of edible food that is wasted according to the circular economy charity, Wrap, making initiatives such as these a vital part of changing the way the industry approaches food and food waste.

Henry Watts, MD Catering at Atalian Servest, said “We are thrilled to see what a huge difference our ‘ugly veg’ campaign has made in the space of 18 months. Caterers have a huge responsibility to their clients and to the planet, our ‘ugly veg’ campaign allows us to create fantastic seasonal dishes while benefitting the environment. We look forward to growing this initiative to make an even bigger impact over the coming months and years.”

Halloween Recipes

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Halloween is a great opportunity to introduce young people to seasonal vegetables in fun and exciting ways.

Our school chefs enjoy being able to create menus that turn classic autumn ingredients such as pumpkin and sweet potatoes into interesting stars of the show.

We talked to Darren Barnes, Chef Manager, about why he loves Halloween and asked him to share some of his favourite Spooktacular recipes.

“Halloween is always a firm favourite for students and colleagues alike. Our trick is making sure all our treats are deliciously fun, but also healthy,” said Darren.

“Spicy chicken with roasted autumnal vegetables and our pumpkin and pork meatballs are easy to make, filled with nutritious ingredients and will be a hit with everyone this Halloween!

“A plate filled with chicken, carrots, parsnips and swede may not sound like fun but with a few key ingredients like Sriracha and fresh herbs, every ghoul will enjoy them.”

Key Ingredients

Chicken is considered a lean meat and is an excellent source of protein which plays an important role in muscle growth and maintenance.  It’s also a great source of many vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, selenium and iron.

Pumpkins are a winter squash and although they are technically a fruit, as they contain seeds, they have nutritional benefits more like vegetables than fruits. They are rich in Vitamin A and C and a good source of Vitamin E.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fibre. As well as the typical orange, you can also find red, yellow, white and purple carrots.

Swede has a wide range of health benefits due to its excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. A 100g portion of roasted or boiled swede contains 18.8mg of vitamin C and 216mg of potassium!

Celery is 95% water and is well known for being low in calories. . Celery contains many vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium, folate and vitamin K. Celery is also a good source of fibre.


Easy Pumpkin and Pork Meatballs, Serves 4


  • 500g minced pork
  • 200g pumpkin puree
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 80g white onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the sauce

  • 500ml of passata sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano


  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl and combine the mixture together using your hands or, if you prefer, a wooden spoon. Once combined roll into 20 equal balls, place the balls on a non-stick tray and place it in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and pour the passata and the oregano over the top.
  • Lower the heat of the oven to 150C.
  • Put the tray back into the oven for 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and warmed through.
  • Serve with pasta or rice.

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Cheese Pie, Serves 4


  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 200g pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 20ml of milk
  • 1 tablespoons of butter
  • 100g of grated mature Cheddar cheese
  • 5 slices of tomato for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Boil the diced pumpkin and potatoes together.
  • Once they are soft, which should take 15 to 20 minutes, drain and mash together with the butter and milk and slowly add 2/3 of the cheese and season to taste.
  • When everything has combined together, spoon the mixture into a baking dish, and cover with the remaining 1/3 of cheese, add the tomato slices on the top of the potato mixture.
  • Bake at 180C for 20 minutes in the centre of the oven until the cheese has totally melted and is starting to turn a nice golden brown.

Firecracker Chicken, Serves 4


For the chicken:

  • 8 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • Freshly ground black pepper, and salt

For the sauce:

  • 120g hot sauce, Sriracha would be a good choice
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


To make the sauce:

  • Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring them to a boil whilst stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

To make the chicken:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and then when it’s hot, add the chicken skin-side down, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook the chicken until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes should do the trick.
  • Using tongs, flip the chicken over. Pour about half of the sauce evenly over the chicken. Place the frying pan in the oven or, if your frying pan is not suitable for the oven, transfer to an oven safe dish and roast for five minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and baste the sauce from the bottom of the pan over the chicken. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and return to the oven for a few minutes more.
  • Serve the chicken with the remaining sauce on the side.

Autumn Roasted Vegetables, Serves 4


  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • ½ a medium swede
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 30ml rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Peel and clean all the vegetables then chop into a chunky dice.
  • Chop the garlic and herbs together to a fine dice.
  • Mix the herbs, vegetables and oil together in a mixing bowl, once coated with the oil season to taste and place in a non-stick oven tray and roast on 180C for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Hasselback Potatoes, Serves 4


  • 500g of baby or new potatoes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 20ml rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Slice each potato 2/3rds of the way through and repeat this along the whole length of the potato, then place on a non-stick baking tray, sliced side up.
  • Chop the rosemary and garlic together to a fine dice.
  • Brush each potato with the rapeseed oil, then sprinkle over the rosemary and garlic and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  • Bake at 180C for 35 to 40 minutes.


By News

This week our chefs will be cooking up a storm of nutritious dishes as part of British Nutrition Foundation’s (BNF) Healthy Eating Week.

The BNF initiative runs from 28th September to 4th October and is designed to help promote key health messages and habits.

At Academy we recognise the importance of eating well and our company nutritionist and award-winning development chefs design our menus to meet the latest nutrition guidance and environmental actions.

“Eating well doesn’t mean compromising on the food you love. In fact, by starting to look at use new ingredients and try different meal ideas, people find new favourites,” said Chris Ince, Chef Director.

This year’s Healthy Eating Week challenges are:

  • Eat more wholegrains
  • Vary your veg
  • Drink plenty
  • Move more
  • Be mind kind
  • Get active together
  • Eat together

Martyn Stockwin, Managing Director at Academy, said “This is a great campaign highlighting the importance of healthy eating, and we’re proud to support it.”

Our chefs have developed a special menu for the Healthy Eating Week which includes using some of the delicious seasonal foods available right now, including tomatoes, spinach, kale, courgettes and peppers.

Among some of our favourite dishes on the menu are:

  • Wholemeal quesadilla with homemade refried beans, sweetcorn and chilli
  • Panzanella Pitta pockets
  • Summer vegetable calzone
  • Vegetable frittata cups

World Alzheimer’s Month

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September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and the focus this year is Dementia and encouraging people to become a Dementia Friend.

At Academy we have a number of Dementia Friends and Dementia Friend Champions in the business.

Our healthcare team works hard to ensure we understand and support our residents, especially during these challenging times.  One way we do that is by having a network of Dementia Friends.

Dementia Friends

An Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative, Dementia Friends aims to change the way we think, act and talk about the condition.

We spoke to Matt Nicholas, Development Manager, one of the Dementia Friends Champion at Academy to understand more about the programme.

He said: “Being a Dementia Friend really helped me understand more about the condition and better support our residents. I decided to become a Champion so I could support others in their journey to help make a positive difference to those living with dementia in their community.

“It is hugely rewarding to be able offer dementia friends’ sessions to the team within Atalian Servest and in my own community at our village hall.”

During COVID-19 we are all getting used to new ways of living safely and living with dementia during this period has its own set of challenges.

Dementia is defined by Alzheimer’s Society as “…a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.”

Therefore, increased hygiene and rules around socialising and wearing masks in public can be very challenging for those living with dementia.

Raising awareness of these challenges and understanding the difficulties faced can help those in our communities who are living with dementia or caring for someone who is.

Matt said: “It’s especially important right now that we all increase our understanding of dementia and offer support and compassion to those in our communities impacted.

“Offering sessions face to face is challenging at the moment, but we’ve been able to move to online sessions to ensure we can continue to help share the message at such a critical time.

“Practical help can be as simple as treating someone in the supermarket with respect and dignity as they may take more time as they shop or struggle with social distancing, or staying in touch with a loved one of someone who is living with dementia to listen and be there to talk things through.”

To find out more about dementia or about becoming a Dementia Friend, visit


By News


Exceptional regional and national dishes can be found across the British Isles, inspired by our rich history and diverse cultures. Launched in 2002, British Food Fortnight is the largest national celebration of British food and drink, it is held every autumn during the harvest festival.

In celebration of the fortnight, our sites are enjoying delicious dishes including freshly made Scotch pies, Glamorgan sausages with red onion & chilli chutney and chicken and ham pie. We asked our Chef Director, Chris Ince, why he believes buying British is so important: “Put simply, using fresh, seasonal ingredients will always make your food taste better.

“But beyond great tasting food, by buying local you are supporting the local businesses and thus the economy. There are also environmental benefits as the food has fewer miles to travel to get to your plate, by using British supplies instead of imported goods you are helping to reduce carbon emissions and protect the British countryside.”

Best of British runs throughout our business and underpins our Food Philosophy. We’ll always work with our suppliers, to ensure we can serve the freshest produce from the best British producers.

Here are some reasons we celebrate British Food:

We believe that by using high quality, locally sourced ingredients our chefs can create food of an exceptional quality whilst, also supporting the local economy and the environment. We are proud to have extensive relationships with suppliers from across the UK, from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands.


British beef is considered some of the best tasting in the world, and as a result our native British breeds are highly coveted across the world.


As one of the few countries that give consumers the option to buy outdoor reared pork, the UK is one of the world leaders in pig welfare. It also makes some of our most popular British dishes – sausages and mash, a sausage bap (or dependent where you live a cob, bridie or oggie!) and the lunchtime favourite sausage roll.


Nutritionally lamb is naturally rich in protein, it is one of the few sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which promotes muscle building and fat loss. Lamb also contains a plethora of other vitamins and minerals including zinc, selenium, phosphorus and iron.

Sheep farming is hugely beneficial to the environment; the extensive use of grazing helps protect rare plant and wildlife species.


Over 40% of the meat that eaten in the UK is chicken, making it the nation’s favourite meat by far. British regulations means that poultry labelled as British is required to come from birds that have were born, reared and slaughtered in the UK.


As a mark of quality and safety, all eggs that carry the British Lion mark have been produced under the stringent requirements. If an egg is marked with the British Lion mark, it means all stages of the process have been independently checked to ensure standards are met, including salmonella vaccinations. The British Lion has now become one of the UK’s most successful food safety marks, with over 90% of the UK eggs now produced following their strict guidelines.


Milk and dairy products are important sources of several nutrients, including calcium, iodine and protein, which contribute to a nutritional diet. Milk is a fridge staple in the UK and Farming UK says 98.5% households buy liquid milk as enjoy it splashed over our cornflakes and in our tea.


From Cheddar to Cheshire, Brie to Binham Blue, and Stilton to Stinking Bishop, Britain produces a huge quantity of cheese. In fact, there are around 700 named cheeses produced in the UK, which is 100 more types of cheese than France. Many of the cheeses produced in the UK are unique and, protected foods that have been awarded PDO or PGI status.


Fish and chips is well known as an iconic British dish, but Britain has lots more to offer when it comes to seafood such as Scottish salmon, Cornish oysters and welsh mussels. Low in calories, high in protein and rich in vitamins, minerals and natural oils, fish is a hugely important part of the diet. Seafood is rich in vitamins A and D and is a fantastic source of Omega 3 fatty acids.


With the recent increase in vegetarianism and veganism, the consumption of vegetables is on the rise and we’re enjoying experimenting with new and exciting ways we can cook and eat them.

British Food Fortnight marks the shift from summer to winter, where we see new fruit and vegetables coming into season. With winter approaching, we will start seeing butternut squashes and apples becoming more readily available. Packed with vitamin C to boost our immune systems, they will help in protecting our bodies against winter colds and flu.

Second class Veg – Second class rates with a first-class taste

So called “ugly” or “wonky” veg is a huge source of food waste in the UK. It is believed that up to 25% of apples, 20% of onions and 13% of potatoes grown in the UK are thrown away for cosmetic reasons. We are proud of the range of seasonal products and “ugly veg” that would ordinarily be thrown away to create delicious dishes for our clients.

“Farm shops are an excellent way to be able to find local, seasonal ingredients to enjoy. Don’t be afraid to pick up something unusual you might not recognise and, ask for advice on what you can do with it. British Food Fortnight is a great time to try something new and celebrate the regional and national flavours we are famous for,” said Chris.