Food & Expo 2010
Cooked Sausages

2011 Reports & Stories from The Big Kitchen

Publication: Cost Sector Catering / Catering on Campus & for conferences

A University catering team is kept busy feeding students, teachers and staff during the term and supplying conferences on campus during holiday breaks and through the year. The man in charge outlines his busy schedule.

The many kitchens sited around the University of Warwick’s main campus are rarely quiet because when the students head home at the end of term, a significant part of its conference business kicks into gear.

So in addition to serving more than 5,000 students from 120 countries, the university caterers also have to supply the three busy dedicated conference centres operating all year-round.

The man responsible for the offering across what has been voted the UK’s Best Campus is executive development chef, Graham Crump, who has been at the University for 25 years. His day-to-day challenge is providing top quality food for a diverse student body, and catering outlets across the 290 hectare campus.

As always, great food is at the heart of any successful operation – the on-site options for students and other visitors include a 500-seat restaurant for lunches and dinners, conferences facilities that, can handle events for up to 1,000 diners, extensive buffet facilities and delivered catering providing food for campus retail outlets.

Graham is a firm believer in buying a quality product. “I appreciate that good flavour is an important factor for diners eating in the university’s large array of catering outlets.”

“Like a growing number of universities we use some pre-cooked products from The Big Kitchen. When dealing with such a high volume business, there is a definite advantage in using a manufacturer’s premium pre-prepared products.”

“Being pre-cooked, it saves preparation time and ultimately ensures we serve up consistent quality for our customers. One of the most popular products form the portfolio is the Lamb Kofta which we use for hot and cold buffets.”

“It works extremely well; we can be catering for hundreds of people at any one time so it’s important the quality and consistency is there, no matter the volume, the offer has to be right. Products such as the Lamb Kofta enable us to provide something different for our customers, which they really enjoy.”

“We have a main kitchen on the campus producing food that goes out to our retail outlets, with many of our restaurants also having their own smaller kitchens where they prepare their own food. Another popular venue is Bar Fusion specialising in world cuisine to cater for the University’s growing number of overseas students.”

“We aim to serve a range of internationally inspired dishes to our students who are more adventurous in their tastes than 10 years ago so a good mix is key. Products such as The Big Kitchen’s meat balls are ideal for an authentic Italian Spaghetti Meatballs.

We are also impressed with the Gourmet Sausage range,” says head chef Trevor Merriman, who has over 30 years’ catering experience. “Our favourite is pork & Herb offering a nice peppery flavour and meaty texture.

We still like to have traditional British cuisine on the menu such as English Breakfasts, Bangers & Mash and Toad in the Hole which are all really popular in the winter months as the students look for dishes that are hearty and substantial.

There is a huge advantage to working with a manufacturer that understands how demanding catering on this scale is. The quality and convenience is there, I’ll certainly consider using more of their products in the future.”

The Big Kitchen is a leading UK manufacturer, specialising in value added meat products to provide university caterers with innovative menu solutions.

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