Blue Ribband Award Winner 2007

02/05/2007 00:05
Sponsored by Johnson Diversey

Head of catering and physical education services Alan Tuckwood has been involved in the catering and hospitality industry for more than 35 years, moving into the public sector following more than a decade of experience working in hotels and night clubs. He has been in his current role since 1997 and in the 10 years since he took over he has led the way in developing the prison meals service to meet the changing needs, demographics and tastes of a customer base that numbers 80,000. In that time the profile of the average prisoner has changed, society's tastes and eating habits have changed and there has been increasing recognition of the need to address dietary issues such as food allergies and intolerances plus the rise in demand for menu options that reflect religious, ethnic or lifestyle choices. Developing the meals service has taken place against a backdrop of incredibly tight budgets - he has just £1.87 a day per prisoner to provide three meals. The size of the task is mind-boggling, he oversees the serving 90 million meals a year in a catering operation that operates 365 days a year across 140 different establishments in England and Wales. Missed meals are not an option - every one of his customers has the right to be regularly fed no matter what other issues may affect the catering operation, including on the rare occasions they happen, riots that have closed kitchens. His work has given him special insight into some the specialist issues that affect this sector and he has written an acclaimed paper PSO 5000 which has been widely disseminated among prison services in countries such as Australia, Saudi Arabia a number in Eastern Europe where international colleagues have expressed an interest in adopting a system similar to that used in England and Wales. Alan has also backed training as an important part of personal development - both for his staff and among prisoners. In fact, more than 60% of prisons deliver NVQ training to inmates to help prepare them to gain employment within the catering industry on their release. The Cost Sector Catering Awards judges have carefully picked their way through the many 2007 nominations to find the one person or organization, above all others, they feel has made the biggest contribution to our industry. It may have been in various ways and in any of the various fields represented by the award categories. What is beyond question, though, is that this person's outstanding qualities will have marked them out clearly as deserving of the highest accolade that the awards can bestow. Not only that, but they will join a very distinguished list of previous recipients.

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