"I am very excited to bring the catering service in-house at the Romero Academy, its something thats outsourced by a high proportion of schools, so this is very forward-thinking."
A Coventry academy has appointed a culinary expert as it looks to transform school dinners by dishing up a top-quality menu to its pupils.
The Romero Catholic Academy, made up of seven primary schools and one secondary school based across the city, has welcomed Tom O’Reilly as Catering Manager.
Tom has more than 30 years’ experience within the culinary and hospitality industry and will support the Academy as it takes its currently outsourced catering in-house from September.
The Academy, made up of Corpus Christi, Good Shepherd, Sacred Heart, St Gregory’s, St John Fisher, St Patrick’s and SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary Schools as well as Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, will provide a healthy menu which focuses on fresh, quality food created using produce from local suppliers.
Pupils, parents and staff will also be able to put forward their ideas and influence the dishes served up in schools.
Tom has held various management positions within four-star hotels and conference centres and has also managed multi-site catering contracts for venues including the National Space Centre in Leicester, the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry and the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington Spa.
Most recently Tom worked as the general manager of the British Motor Museum at Gaydon and was responsible for bringing its catering back in-house.
Tom said: “I am very excited to bring the catering service in-house at the Romero Academy, it’s something that’s outsourced by a high proportion of schools, so this is very forward-thinking.
“Catering companies look after numerous schools which means they can often work on a one size fits all approach, however cooking in-house will allow the Academy to be more flexible with its menus and tailor the offer to our pupils and staff.
“It will also enable the Academy to work with local suppliers, serving up high-quality dishes made with the freshest ingredients. All of the food will be prepared in kitchens at each school and pupils will be treated as customers”
“Their feedback will influence the meals on offer and we will also seek feedback from families and staff to help develop our menus.”
Patrick Taggart, Academy Business Director at the Romero Catholic Academy, said: “Tom has a vast amount of experience in the catering industry and we are very pleased to welcome him to the Academy.
“We are extremely excited to bring our catering in-house, enabling us to provide pupils with a menu that features a wide variety of dishes made with the freshest local ingredients.
“We also hope that our new menu will prove attractive to our 500 staff and encourage them to enjoy a healthy meal away from their desks at lunch time which will support their wellbeing.”