Catering Champion – Joanne

Catering Champion – Joanne

Posted On: 17 Nov 2022

We’d like to introduce you to another of our TLC Catering Champions.

Joanne has been Cook in Charge at St Mary’s CE in Reddish for 25 years. She originally started off at school close by and then came to St Mary’s to cover a General Catering Assistant role on a temporary basis! After a few years the Cook asked Joanne if she wanted to step up, as they were leaving, and she’s been cooking for us ever since!

It’s a family affair too – as Joanne’s son David has been with TLC for just over a year now in our Fleet department.

So many of our Catering team go out of their way to make a difference in their schools.

In Joanne’s case, she is a real advocate for children who can’t eat the same items as other pupils. She goes out of her way to ensure they don’t feel left out – the photo shows one such case – where she has made cakes for a coeliac child.

What is Coeliac disease? The NHS describe it as a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. This damages your gut (small intestine) so you are unable to take in nutrients.

Joanne understands how difficult it can be for this child in particular as her grandson was diagnosed with the same condition six years ago. She recalls the heartbreak when he asked her why he was different to everyone else – and that really spurs her on to support any child in her school who has specific catering needs.

For this child, Joanne makes a number of the cakes in advance using a gluten-free mix (also adding water rather than milk due to a further allergy) – and then sometimes adds icing to them on the day they are required too.

As you can imagine – the request for these cakes now come regularly from this child – but of course Joanne doesn’t want other children to feel like they are missing out either – so these only come out when the others are having something similar.

On other occasions, Joanne has called food companies to double-check items on behalf of this child and another with a serious allergy – always putting the safety of the children first. She also ensures, where possible, that any alternatives don’t stand out as different.

Joanne describes what she does as ‘not a big thing’ – but for the children she supports it really does make a huge difference.

We’re proud of Joanne, and our whole Catering team, making a difference every day.

We’re looking for more people like Joanne to join our team. If you’d like to know more about cooking or assisting in one of our school kitchens – please call Rachel on 07974 629804 or Jayne on 07800 618586 or email our recruitment team:

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