The ‘most influential’ people in public sector catering represents the industry’s leading lights based on their ability to represent the concerns of people working in the sector, as well as their capacity to drive change. They cover schools, universities, hospitals, the care sector, prisons and catering colleges.
David Foad, editor of Public Sector Catering, said: “We have some of the familiar faces you might expect to see, but also ten new ones to reflect changes as events move the focus of our attention.
“Some lead national catering and food organisations, while others have the ear of senior political figures and use this position to highlight issues facing caterers. Yet others have made it a mission to shine a light on problems such as allergens and malnutrition and are challenging the industry to meet higher standards.
“Their energy and commitment to improving food quality and skills training in particular sectors is lighting a beacon of best practice for others to follow. Above all, though, each person named is inspiring others to step outside the day-to-day routine of their role and consider what extra they can strive for.”
Public Sector Catering had planned to get them together in December for a round-table debate to look at some of the key issues facing the industry, such as rising food prices, staffing shortages, and supply chain shortages. Planned rail strikes have forced us to re-arrange this and our leading influencers are now due to convene at the House of Commons on 23rd February 2023 instead.
The ‘most influential’ include:
Sue Cawthray, chair of National Association of Care Catering (NACC)
Well into her second spell as chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the organisation for care home caterers and community meal providers, Sue has worked within the elderly sector for more than 26 years, including hands-on support and care, business management and strategic planning, marketing and fundraising.
Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West
Since April 2021 the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West has been Parliamentary Private Secretary to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and is the longstanding chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, having joined it in 2015.
Andy Jones, former chair of the PSC100 Group (Now PSC Alliance)
Andy has been involved in hospital catering for more than 30 years, is a past chair of the Hospital Caterers Association, and currently works as a consultant to the NHS.
Susan Jebb, chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Professor Susan Jebb, the chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Her research has focused on the treatment of obesity and interventions to encourage healthy and sustainable diets.
Andy Kemp, BFS Group executive director
The long-serving BFS Group executive director has long experience as a foodservice industry networker with all the important contacts in his book. In 2019 he was awarded an MBE for his ‘outstanding services to the foodservice and hospitality industry’, work for which he was also awarded an honorary degree by the University of West London.
David Oliver, head of catering at Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service
The head of catering at Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), he is responsible for feeding 80,000 prisoners a day on an average budget of £2.15 for three meals a day.
Phil Rees-Jones, chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO)
Chair of the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), the leading professional membership body for in-house caterers in higher education with more than 300 members.
Brian Robb, chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA)
As chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), Brian has worked to put in place a reforming and modernising strategy to make the organisation ‘fit for the future’.
Molly Shaher, chair of the Professional Association for Catering Excellence (PACE)
As chair of the Professional Association for Catering Education (PACE), Molly sees her role as encouraging catering education institutions to work together to manage the challenges of continuing change.
Phil Shelley, senior operational & policy manager with NHS Estates and Facilities
The senior operational & policy manager with NHS Estates and Facilities, he chaired the Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food that saw just last month the publication of eight new National Standards of Hospital Food for patients, staff and visitors that all NHS organisations will be legally required to meet.
Alexia Robinson, founder of Love British Food
The founder of Love British Food and the national food celebration, British Food Fortnight, which are now the most established promotions of British food in the public sector.
Brad Pearce, chair of LACA
When appointed chair of LACA, the school food people, Brad vowed to champion the great work school caterers do up and down the country.
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU)
When re-elected in February this year to lead the National Farmers Union (NFU) as its president, Minette Batters pledged its efforts to ‘provide the nation with high-quality, climate-friendly and affordable food for generations to come’. In this position she represents more than 46,000 farmers across England and Wales.
Nick Vadis, culinary director of Compass
As culinary director of Compass Group UK and chef ambassador to the NHS Supply Chain, Nick says he is passionate about the training and development of chefs.
Tanya & Nadim Laperouse, founders of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation (NARF)
Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse lost their 15-year-old daughter Natasha following an allergic reaction to eating sesame seeds baked into the dough of a baguette. They have since set up NARF (Natasha Allergy Research Foundation) to help people who suffer with food allergies.
Chris Packham, naturalist, television presenter and author
Naturalist, television presenter and author Chris Packham delivered a keynote speech at this year’s Public Sector Catering Expo, looking at the impact of climate change on the environment, wildlife and food system.
Chris Ross, chair of ASSIST FM
Chris took over from Jayne Jones as chair of ASSIST FM, the organisation that represents public sector FM services providers in Scotland.
Matt White, chair of the PSC Alliance
The new chair of the Public Sector Catering Alliance (PSCA) Matt White, the immediate past chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), received an MBE in the 2022 Queens New Year’s Honours List for his work as TUCO chair and the University of Reading, where he is currently director of campus commerce.
Stephen Briggs, head of service for catering at the Education Authority (Northern Ireland)
Stephen is a facilities management professional with over 25 years of operational experience across a wide range of sites and service areas within the public and private sector.
Alison Smith, prescribing support consultant dietitian at Herts Valleys Clinical Comissioning Group
As a dietitian she is also currently campaigning hard for a ‘nutrient dense’ approach to tackling malnutrition, speaking at the recent National Association of Care Catering forum about fortifying food in a nutritionally balanced way to help people who are underweight, rather than simply adding lots of extra fat.