Flavours of affection: Our school catering service
25 Sep 2023
In today's times, many children often find school meals consistently unappealing. One of the most common complaints is that the meals are plain and lack variety caused by a strict focus on food safety that limits the diversity of dishes in some schools.
However, at Wellington College Hangzhou, we describe our catering service provider as follows:
'They are the guardians of your child's health and the artists who delight their taste buds.’
Our catering team boasts a strong professional background. Comprising executive chefs, senior Chinese and Western chefs, and dim sum chefs with extensive expertise in the industry. Their professionalism and passion are what ensure our pupils enjoy a high-quality dining experience.
They possess strong culinary skills, with several chefs and dim sum chefs having honed their craft in five-star hotel restaurants. Their professional training and diverse experiences enable a wide range of culinary options, ranging from exquisite Chinese dishes to innovative Western cuisine. They consistently surprise and satisfy our pupils with both the taste and presentation of their meals.
They adhere to strict standards. The catering provider is a leading global company and has obtained such certifications as QS and ISO 55001 guaranteeing the safety and quality of the food they prepare. The school also follows rigorous industry and local standards to perfect catering management and ensure food safety and hygiene.
Having such an exceptional catering team reassures our pupils and their parents; it also helps to distinguish the catering service at Wellington College Hangzhou as one of the best among its counterparts.
We start with catering but go beyond
simply providing a catering service
Qian Zhongshu, a prestigious Chinese literary scholar and writer, made a famous remark,“If you enjoy eating an egg, why bother to find the hen that laid it?”
However, food traceability at Wellington College Hangzhou is a crucial aspect of our catering service.
Our school is detail-oriented in the procurement and storage management of ingredients, employing designated personnel to oversee the process. Supplier qualifications and product certifications are subject to rigorous verification by the school while purchasing ingredients and a comprehensive procurement record is kept for archive.
To ensure freshness of our ingredients, several vehicles loaded with fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry arrive at Wellington College Hangzhou before 6 am every morning. These ingredients are then meticulously sorted and cleaned by our dining hall team.
We exercise strict control over the brand and quality of ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, meat, seafood, food oil, seasonings, grains and cereals. We refuse to use genetically modified products.
Once all ingredients are prepared, our chefs begin cooking the daily menu. With the skill to create extraordinary flavours from common ingredients while maintaining a balance between deliciousness and healthiness, they have created some signature dishes that have enjoyed wide popularity among pupils and teachers at Wellington College Hangzhou.
In our commitment to meeting the diverse dietary needs of our children, we have assembled a professional team of dieticians and nurses. They draw up personalised dietary plans after analysing the unique circumstances of each child.
Whether a child has allergies, struggles with obesity, follows a vegetarian diet, or requires special dietary care due to medical conditions, we offer specially tailored meals to meet their individual dietary requirements.
These custom recipes not only fulfil their dietary needs but ensure their health and nutritional balance. Our team of expert dietitians and nurses play a pivotal role in this process, prioritising the dietary health of each child to ensure they receive the highest standard of care.
We prioritise children’s opinions
“As a chef, I am fully aware of my responsibility and mission. I will consistently provide pupils with delicious, healthy and nutritious meals so that pupils have the energy and strength they need for both their studies and daily lives.”
Mr Yu, the head chef of our dining hall, listens attentively whenever a catering-related suggestion is raised, and he enjoys exploring new and trending dishes. With almost 20 years of work experience in the culinary industry, he has witnessed how the catering needs and preferences of pupils have evolved over time. He never wavers in his dedication because he has a passion for food and the wellbeing of children. He understands that there is absolutely no room for error when it comes to ensuring the health and wellfare of our pupils.
“How is the food today?”
“What flavours do you prefer?”
“How do the flavours differ from what you usually have outside of school?”
The catering team attaches great importance to the dining experience of pupils. Weekly interviews of pupils are conducted during mealtime at the dining hall to assess their satisfaction with the catering service and strike the balance of making the meal nutritious and appealing to the diners.
The results of these interviews are shared with parents before they are discussed and analysed at the Food Committee meetings. Feedback from both parents and pupils is highly valued by the school service team in their efforts to provide an improved service. This feedback is reflected in our adjusted menus and food offerings to ensure that pupils eat healthily with satisfaction.
Throughout this process, the opinions and suggestions of our pupils are treated with the utmost respect and value. They can feel assured that their voices are heard and appreciated.
To eat is also, or even more,
Every month we organise diverse and themed food festivals at Wellington College Hangzhou, presenting children with the opportunity to explore various cultures and customs while enjoying delicious cuisine. The festivals are based on a wide range of topics, including cultural holidays and seasonal celebrations, solar terms and environmental awareness. Through these culinary adventures, pupils not only savour delightful dishes but also gain a deeper understanding of different cultural backgrounds and unique traditions.
Children have the unique opportunity not only to savour a diverse range of international cuisines through our bilingual menu but also to embark on a culinary journey that nurtures their knowledge and skills. Translating dish names is an art and a ‘course’ in itself. It goes beyond language; it is a gateway to understanding and appreciating the rich culinary traditions of various cultures. By engaging in this process, children not only cultivate a sensitivity to language but also gain insights into the cultural significance of different dishes.
Swipe to see the menu
(Click to enlarge the picture)
Moreover, the ability to accurately describe food in a foreign language is a valuable soft skill for children. As they grow into adults who may study abroad or embark on international travels, being able to communicate fluently in English about their culinary preferences not only satisfies their taste buds but also enriches their overall experiences. This ability will make children more confident and independent, adding a touch of brightness to their life journeys.
Our commitment to food education goes beyond festivals. We also offer Western table manners and pastry baking courses to enhance our catering service and empower pupils to learn practical life skills while indulging in delicious meals.
Our Western table manners course, pupils learn essential skills such as dining etiquette, proper selection of dinnerware and effective communication at the dining table. This empowers pupils to navigate social situations with confidence in the future. Meanwhile, in our pastry baking course, pupils acquire the art of making bread, cakes and other Western-style pastries, satisfying their palates while nurturing their dexterity and creativity. These activities have made meals more diverse and healthier while enriching their extracurricular life.
It is worth noting that we have established a dedicated Food Committee consisting of parent representatives at Wellington College Hangzhou, which offers valuable feedback and advice to the catering team and help to ensure that pupils are provided with healthy and delicious food.
Parents play an essential role in the school's catering system. As guardians of their children, they recognise the significance of a healthy diet in their children's growth and development. Therefore, we listen to their feedback and consider it a cornerstone in our decision-making process.
We have seen significant improvement in our catering service thanks to parental involvement and partnership. Our pupils now enjoy more delectable, balanced and nutritious meals while developing lifelong healthy eating habits. The fruits of the parent-school partnership has been appreciated and recognised by both pupils and parents.
Why do the children appreciate the catering system at Wellington College Hangzhou? The reason is simple. Behind the food that appeals to the children is the enticing flavours, healthy nutrition, rich culture, interpersonal expansion, and our sincere care for every child.
Finally, Wellington College Hangzhou would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributes to our catering service provision. Our care and commitment to the healthy growth of the children is reflected in everything we do for them. Let us work together to continue creating a better and wholesome school catering system and bring more deliciousness and happiness to the pupils.