Chef’s Blog No.1

Well the last couple of years have been a little bit messy and my career looked a little lost post pandemic….

My name is David Belsey. I’ve been a professional chef for 33 years and I have pretty much covered all four corners of the hospitality industry, an industry I am passionate about and one that has recently taken a bit of a bashing. I have always seen myself as an everyman chef and not one who takes themselves too seriously. I joined Edwards and Ward as their company chef in September 2021, coming from a restaurant and B&I background, and the journey to get here has been bumpy, but character building.
I have plenty of friends within the industry that have asked why education? Well, why not? My skills as a chef have not diminished because of the kind of food we produce. If anything, my knowledge, and innovative approach sees ideas embraced and skills improved. The job is no different and it shows that the education sector is one of bountiful riches if you are enthusiastic enough to find them.
When I joined the company, I found the staff at our schools incredible. Passionate about the children’s mealtimes and their manner professional, but fun. Always smiling and always putting the children’s lunchtimes first. I have been blown away by it.
I remember when I worked in business and industry, I did extra work at weekends for an events caterer. The chefs couldn’t believe the financial restraints we had within our kitchens and the food we could produce on a budget; something a chef in events would be blind to. I once served a starter at an event for Elton John where the food alone cost £69.00 per plate and the client was charged accordingly! It was Foie Gras with heritage beetroot, micro herbs, an infused balsamic and a vintage aperitif sweet wine. This dish itself was exquisite. Now, why am I showboating about Elton John’s food? Well, I think it’s all relevant. You see my peers now are blown away at what we produce on an even smaller budget than B&I and, to be honest, it doesn’t matter what standard of food you serve, you are only as good as your last meal. And although the chefs that cook these incredible dishes work hard and long hours, we must stand back and admire the unsung heroes working in our school kitchens who deliver thousands of meals per day to probably the most important people in society: our children.

Comments

  • Hi,

    I welcome the chance to comment on your blog although my comment isn’t necessarily about this entry. I note that you’ve recently started supplying my daughter’s school and that meat free Mondays have vanished. I’m wondering how, when so many schools and MATs are moving towards 100% plant based offerings, that you still promote carbon heavy diets? It would be great to hear how you’re moving towards more sustainable school meals. Thanks

    • Hi. Thank you for your comment. For each of our menu cycles, we develop a variety of menus for schools to choose from. For our current Spring/Summer menu, half the options available include a meat-free Monday.

      We have been working to include more plant-based options and supplement many of our meat dishes with plant-based protein. We have also introduced clearer labelling and fully vegan menus on request. We would consider providing vegan options every day as standard if we felt there was a demand for this, however our menus have to cater for a large number of children with different tastes, dietary requirements and cultural and religious backgrounds. We also try to encourage children to eat a wide variety of different foods. We always welcome feedback and would also encourage parents to discuss any concerns they have with their school so that we can work together to provide the best menus possible.

      For more information, feel free to get in touch with our Special Diets Team.
      https://edwardsandward.co.uk/special-diets/#Special-Diets-Contact

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