Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes here in the Langley School kitchens? Let us tell you, direct from Joe Campen our Executive Head Chef, more about the Catering provision.
Joe’s team is made up of qualified chefs recruited from the catering industry, and together they cater for hundreds of staff and pupils every day across our Prep and Senior sites, including breakfast, lunch and dinner!
When asked what kind of team they are, Joe said, “We are committed to upskilling our staff and, as a result, every chef across both our sites now holds catering qualifications.”
“I see our role here as more than just feeding pupils – we are in the perfect position to educate them to make good choices and eat well for life.”
Joe really is passionate about encouraging pupils to eat a rainbow-coloured variety of food. He says, “It’s up to us to make sure they get as many of the vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients as possible, supporting their growth, learning and a healthy lifestyle. Our pupils are great at trying new dishes and getting involved in our monthly pupil-led themed days, including Chinese Street Food, Indian, Mexican, African, American, Spanish and Scottish themes.”
The Catering team as a whole strives towards providing a healthy and balanced diet for pupils, and Joe tells us how they do that: “We spend more each week on fruit and vegetables than we do on meat, and we try to combine as many vegetables into our main dishes as possible. For example, we use more than 20kg of carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic in our bolognaise sauce, we grate apples into our sausage roll mix, and our curries contain lots of pureed vegetables. We offer sugar-free options such as our Greek style yoghurt that we make on site and our homemade muesli. We have also reduced our sugar usage by 50% in all our homemade desserts.”
We also asked Joe what’s popular at the moment. “We have seen vegetarian dishes growing in popularity – here at Langley we offer two vegetarian choices at each meal, including a vegan option. We also offer a selection of salads with different proteins (such as mackerel, egg, ham, tuna) freshly made daily in the compostable ‘window’ boxes, as well as having side salad bowls available at each meal, plus a vast selection of fruit. There is also the option of a filled baked potato for pupils.
“I would say that our homemade curries are very popular and we introduce a new one each term, so we have had them from all over the world. The Thai green curry made with fresh lemon grass, ginger and lots of fresh coriander is a favourite, and our Omani Thareed served with flat breads has an amazing depth of flavour. A firm favourite on Friday fish day is the ‘side of salmon with herb crust’ – I tell the younger pupils it’s just a huge fish finger!”
“Going forward, I think we will see more Flexitarians, as people eat less meat for environmental reasons. I’m also sure, as more is known about the importance of diet on the gut microbiome, that we will have more take up of the fermented foods such as Kimchi and the live yoghurt that we serve. We have already increased the number of prebiotic foods in dishes we offer to promote good gut health.”
Thank you to Joe and the whole team for putting on what really is wonderful food day in day out.