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My career in public sector catering: David Oliver

23rd Apr 2024 - 12:13
David Oliver head prison catering england wales
David Oliver was the head of prison catering in England and Wales until he stepped down at the end of March this year. Before he left, he took time out to talk to Public Sector Catering about his career as a chef.

He reflects on how he came to work in prisons, and why he thinks it provides a great opportunity for any young chef who's looking for job security, no split shifts, decent pay, and the satisfaction of helping prisoners train as chefs to gain the skills and qualifications they can use to get a job on their release.

Starting out as a young man who had trials with Norwich City to be a professional footballer, David switched instead to train in the Army as a chef, spending 24 years in the service before retiring in 1999 as a Regimental Sergeant Major at the Army School of Catering.

From there he moved into prison kitchens to eventually head the operation that feeds more than 80,000 prisoners a day across more than 100 sites with a budget of just £2.70 a day per person to provide three meals and snacks.

Listen to his story here.

Written by
Rebecca Saunders