Schools sought to trial new approach to meals

Pasta, igen

An independent catering company is looking for primary schools to trial a new way of serving school meals that will involve one hub providing freshly made locally sourced food to order to a group of four or five schools.

The scheme is being introduced by Lunchtime UK, which is based in Cambridge and London, and will involve the cooking being done at a central hub for a number of primary schools with parents sending in their request for meals for their children via a web portal. This in turn would intelligently trigger high quality ingredients orders online from local suppliers and cooking lists for chefs. The food would then be delivered hot and served by lunchtime supervisors, table by table, on proper plates with tablecloths and flower arrangements on each table. It would then be cleared and taken back to the central hub for industrial dishwashing.

Lunchtime founder Justin Fairhall says the hub is likely to be a secondary school or large primary that supplies a number of geographically close primaries and fits in with the trend towards schools federating to rationalise expenses: “The result would be very little waste, high quality food, fantastic presentation of food, personal service and a fabulous environment. We also know it works as we already run a hub from a primary school in Cambridge serving a number of other schools.”

He also believes it will have a civilising effect on the schools:  “The lack of commitment to school meals is leading to schools becoming places to provide ‘knowledge modules’ and nothing more, he says. “Lunchtimes should be an important part of school life and not just about supplying food quickly and efficiently,” he says. “They can also inspire a lifelong love of food and of eating together among the children.”

This new initiative also comes at a time when schools are no longer required to have proper kitchens and canteens.  Adds Fairhall: “With new building regulations no longer requiring schools to provide facilities for serving food and drinks and washing crockery and utensils this is a solution that will be good for schools, parents and children.”

To apply for the scheme contact Justin Fairhall at

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Justin Fairhall

Justin Fairhall is the founder and managing director of Lunchtime UK, an independent catering company based in Cambridge and London supplying meals to schools and colleges in the South East of England. Lunchtime UK offers fresh, locally sourced ingredients prepared from scratch every day by qualified chefs, with an emphasis on tasty and nutritious food that young people want to eat, served by friendly, helpful staff in pleasant surroundings.

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