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Eat Well in Schools

School owned, community fed

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History of Eat Well in Schools


In 2014 four Luton schools set up a new venture to improve the school meal experience for pupils.  This was not undertaken lightly and involved many months of research and preparation by the Headteachers and Business Managers. With the support and advice from Food for Thought Ltd in Liverpool, a not-for-profit (social enterprise) our brand was created and named ‘Eat Well in Schools’.


Reasons for Change

Before Eat Well, each school had entered into an annual service level agreement with an external catering provider to provide catering services.  They:

  • maintained and operated the kitchens

  • recruited and employed the staff within these kitchens

  • developed the menus

  • determined ingredients used, with many either frozen or in packets

  • received all funding/grants related to school meals


Schools themselves had very little control over their own kitchens and the catering provided to their pupils, we began to wonder if we could do better. 

The main issues were:

  • we wanted to use fresh, local produce wherever possible and choose better suppliers

  • we were unable to invest in our kitchens and saw little evidence that much funding had been directed at our own school kitchen by previous supplier
  • we hoped to improve the overall experience for our pupils
  • more control over meal costs


Transition to ‘Eat Well in Schools’

In January 2015 Mark Passarelli was employed as the Eat Well Catering Manager to oversee all four kitchens, and to ensure that all legal requirements were met and new menu’s developed. Mark is a hugely experienced chef who also had corporate catering experience, and was looking for a new professional challenge!  Once everything was in place, ‘Eat Well in Schools’ was launched in April 2015.


7 Years on………..

As we have now completed our first 7 years we are all proud of the changes that have been brought about by introducing Eat Well in Schools:

  • all of our ingredients are fresh wherever possible, not frozen or packet

  • local suppliers are used for meat, fruit and vegetables

  • we have been able to invest in the kitchen itself, installing equipment which is newer and more modern, saving time for our catering staff which helps them to feel valued

  • new dining tables, crockery and cutlery are of a higher quality

  • we can tailor our menus to suit pupils needs at each school and respond quickly if a particular dish is unpopular

  • modern uniforms make our catering staff look like the team they are

  • per meal budget increased by over 90%, from 46p to 95p



Eat Well schools are less expensive than other maintained schools as they set their own budgets.


People working within school catering have contacted Eat Well directly to ask if there are any vacancies in our school kitchens because they believe in our ethos!


Christmas lunch sees us serve slices of turkey crown, carved in view of the pupils by Mr Passarelli!  In previous years the kitchen served frozen preformed turkey meat.


More staff employed at some of the schools, and more schools asking to join us!


We now have full control over our suppliers, even knowing which farms all of our meat products originate from!


At Ferrars

  • Mark Passarelli has been actively involved with our School Council, listening to their views on the new menus. Children also had the opportunity to use chopsticks when a Chinese day was held, with Mark ‘live’ cooking noodles during service!

  • St Georges day was celebrated with a Full English breakfast, spotted dick and custard served for dessert.

  • We are now able to offer staff a free lunch every day, and staff sit with the children in the dining hall to each lunch.

  • Dedicated Catering Manager servicing all 4 school kitchens which gave the schools flexibility needed to cater for different ethnic groups.

  • Tailored menu’s at each school


At Downside…

  • Parents evening taster session showcasing the food offer at Downside which proved to be popular and effective.

  • End of year school picnic for almost 1000 children.

  • Chinese theme day with the children using chopsticks

  • Special Eid lunch celebrating the end of the fasting.


At Beech Hill…

  • VE day celebration event with a picnic for 920 children.

  • Bake off cake competition, a great success with 370 entries from all year groups, 3 winners and the cakes replicated by the Kitchen team

  • A week of Olympic themed menus finishing with a Brazilian hot food street party for 900 children.

  • Pizza in the park for the Yr 6 leavers.


At Waulud Primary…

Waulud is a new school within the group, joining in April 2022


Other items

  • Hospitality offer improved and standardised at all schools.

  • Healthy option pack lunches available at all schools

  • Pop ups purchased to promote the Eat Well's vision and values.


Feeding the Homeless

Eat Well in Schools supplies Noah Enterprises with soup for their kitchens, free of charge, 52 weeks of the year.