North Bristol Trust
We spoke to Gary Wilkins, North Bristol Trust's Head of Catering, about their work with Food for Life Served Here over the last 10 years.
Why did you want to become a Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) award holder?
We felt that as the NHS uses tax payers money we should be putting that money back into the local economy. We worked on the Food for Life pilot programme to explore whether the Food for Life Served Here standards could be used for sectors, other than schools which is where it started. Sustainability and traceability are benefits but local sourcing was key driver initially. The horsemeat scare did highlight the need for traceability.
In your opinion, what are the benefits and why should catering providers join FFLSH?
It has all changed in the last ten years. It was harder for us to control ingredients and we were having to check everything when we started. There were far less compliant products, such as Red Tractor, available. But now compliant products are standard and things that were tricky then we take for granted. Food for Life is much more known now. It gives people comfort that where possible food is locally sourced, sustainable and fully traceable.
How do you feel your sector has changed in the last 10 years?
In the restaurant there is a move away from meat and two veg. Theatre and demo cooking, more vegetable based dishes and pasta are popular. A cardiologist did a demo in the kitchen and several of his dishes are now on the menu.
Patient food has moved on. We are introducing more modern, slightly spicier dishes whilst also keeping more traditional dishes to make sure there is something for everyone. I didn’t think I’d see the day we didn’t have corned beef on the menu at the hospital but we don’t now!
What have been your FFLSH highlights over the last 10 years?
The team work hard and are dedicated to serving good food. We have lots of staff who have been with us since the beginning of our FFL journey including Dean, Paula, myself and others too. We are proud of what we do here and working with local suppliers. I like to tell the story that the milk is in the cow on Monday, and with us on Wednesday!