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National award for school’s food champion

An executive chef has won a national award for his work to revolutionise the food offered to students at a Harrogate school.

Steve Ashburn, who joined Rossett School in September 2014, has been named Newcomer of the Year at the EDUcatering Excellence Awards. The scheme recognises outstanding individuals who have excelled in school meals, and Steve’s nomination wowed the judges.

EDUcatering Newcomer of the Year Steve Ashburn, from Rossett School
EDUcatering Newcomer of the Year Steve Ashburn, from Rossett School

He and Rossett’s Community Partnership coordinator, Melissa Horberry, travelled to London for a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel, where hundreds of top school caterers saw Steve announced as the winner of his category.


Steve said:

It was such an honour to be shortlisted for an EDUcatering Excellence Award, and I was really surprised when they called out my name as a winner.

The changes that have been made to the catering at Rossett really have been a team effort, so this award is for the hard work and effort put in by all of us. It will certainly inspire us to make even more improvements in the future.


In just one academic year, Steve has transformed the food on offer at Rossett School. The kitchens now use as many Yorkshire-sourced ingredients as possible, and more dishes than ever are created from scratch.

Steve has also motivated his staff to come up with new ideas, including the Sandwich Mojo – a direct delivery service for staff who are too busy to visit the dining room. He hopes to expand to new services in future, including a catering van for special events and a ‘Masterchef’ apprenticeship scheme for students who want to develop their love of cooking outside school hours.


Headteacher Helen Woodcock said:

The changes in the catering service in the last year have been fantastic, and our staff and students now rave about the excellent food on offer in our dining rooms.

Steve and his team have also done some outstanding work in catering for our events and the feedback from these has shown just how impressive our food is. Rossett School’s Food Plan sets out our priorities of locally-sourced, healthy food to help students work as effectively as possible.

The EDUcatering Excellence Award given to Steve is recognition of an exceptional year’s work, and is thoroughly deserved by him and his team.


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