Vote for Derek

Posted on Friday 22nd April 2022

Blackpool Council Catering Manager Derek Wright has been announced on the shortlist for the ‘Culinary Hero Award’ at the highly prestigious Craft and Guild of Chefs Awards.

Derek is shortlisted due to his hard work, passion and dedication over the past two years when he took on the role.

Derek has led his team from strength to strength. The team’s hard work has already been recognised by two major industry awards in the past year, with Blackpool Catering Services winning ‘Team of The Year’ at the Public Sector Catering Awards 2021 and the APSE Innovation award in March of this year.

 When Derek became Catering Services Manager in October 2019, Blackpool Catering Services (BCS) served in 11 schools across Blackpool. As of April 2022, due to the work of Derek’s team, the service is now in 32 schools across the town, making them the largest education caterer in the area, serving over 135,000 meals a month.

Under Derek’s leadership, BCS has also opened two community cafes at Anchorsholme Park and Palatine Leisure Centre.

 During the first Covid-19 lockdown, Derek, his team and Active Blackpool staff mobilised an emergency food distribution centre in under 48 hours! The food parcels sent out to children and vulnerable adults reached the equivalent of over 600,000 meals.

 Derek works with local suppliers to find the best fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The BCS Management team trains and supports staff to create all dishes from scratch with industry-recognised qualifications, training and development opportunities. As a result, Derek and the BCS Management team have led the service to achieve the Bronze Food For Life Award across all kitchens in 2021.

 In December 2021, BCS partnered with Literacy Trust and sent out 6000 free books to children with their Christmas dinners, supporting the #GetBlackpoolReading strategy.

 In September 2021, BCS launched Chefs Academy for students in years 10-11 who’d otherwise struggle to engage with education. Students gain an industry recognised catering qualification and can progress onto higher-level education in the field upon finishing High School.

Derek arranged for the students to have a lesson from Quorn UK’s Mark Wetherill, Quorn’s Business Food Development Chef, during which they learnt how to prepare a 3-course meal for 30 guests. The students have also cooked for members of the Community, Beaumont College and even Michael Gove.

Derek’s hard work has led to him representing Blackpool and the North West nationally at LACA “The School Food People” and Love British Food. Derek can drive ideas and influence positive change in the public sector and beyond by sitting on these panels. 

Voting for Derek in the Culinary Hero category will show industry experts that a small town Local Authority Catering Service can have a huge impact far beyond the town borders.

Vote now




Posted on Friday 22nd April 2022

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