Here at FSC Preston Montford we care where our food comes from, how much carbon is produced in its making and the health of our customers. Therefore when we heard about the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark (now known as the Food for Life Served Here Award) we decided to review our culinary delights and aim for the Bronze Award.
The Food for Life Catering Mark is a set of standards to ensure that our “staff and customers know that the majority of food on the menu is freshly prepared, free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, and is cooked by trained chefs, and use[s] ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources” (Soil Association Website). Essentially it is all about serving local, fresh and honest food!
|Our "Taste of Shropshire" chalkboard is proudly displayed in our dinning room. The board shows where our fresh produce comes from within Shropshire.|
To qualify for the Bronze Award we need to meet several success criteria including 75% of the food on our lunchtime and evening menus must be freshly prepared and none of the fish that we serve can be on the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) ‘Fish to avoid list’. In addition, all of our meat has to be ethically sourced and satisfy UK welfare requirements. All of our fish currently comes from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) approved sources, meaning that the fish is caught in a sustainable way leaving smaller fish in the ocean to continue to grow and breed. The catering team strongly feel that by guaranteeing the health of the animals who provide our meat and dairy products then the food they prepared will be of the highest quality for you, our customers. The staff team also like that the local economy is supported, due to our move to find suppliers closer to our centre, and that UK farmers are supported by our on-going use of Red Tractor products. The latter was especially important as Shropshire as a county has a strong farming background. Red Tractor products also affords an element of accountability as we can trace the produce back to the farm and the animal that provided the produce to ensure that it was well looked after. Furthermore, as part of the Catering Mark we can only use fresh free range eggs and all sauces and short crust pastry must be made from scratch…yes you read correctly, from scratch!
The catering team were willing to take on this challenge and put all of their culinary skills to good use. To assist them on their way to success, our chef Andy Lewendon and our Hospitality Manager Steve Duke attended a day course in Shrewsbury to find out more about the finer details of achieving the award. On their return they worked hard with their team to begin to implement the changes necessary, designing a new menu that means that everything is now prepared and cooked on site – even those uniform-looking lemon meringue pie cases are prepped by hand. They have also expanded the Vegetarian and Vegan options, trying new recipes to make low carbon choices even tastier!
|Delicious lemon meringue pies made by FSC Preston Montford catering staff.|
We are now well on our way to meeting all of the criteria to achieve the Bronze Award and are just waiting for an inspection date so that we can receive our seal of approval. Watch this space for more news….
In the meantime, are there ways to improve the sustainability of the food you eat at home? Explore the links below to find out more information about the organisations and award labels mentioned in this blog.
Food for Life Served Here - https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/catering/
Marine Conservation Society’s Fish to avoid list -https://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/fisheries/fishweek/FishWeek_FishList_Jan2011.pdf
Red Tractor label - https://www.redtractor.org.uk/?src=landingMarine Stewardship Council Blue Fish label - https://20.msc.org/home