The Awards were presented this week (Tuesday 22 November) at the Food Matters Live event at Excel in London's Docklands. The University won its award in the Schools, Colleges and Universities category sponsored by Thomas Ridley Food Service.
The FreeFrom Eating Out Awards
were launched three years ago to raise awareness of the huge opportunities offered by 'freefrom' food within the food service sector. FreeFrom food - free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soya, nuts and other allergens - has become big business in the retail sector with an annual turnover already topping half a billion pounds.
The Catering department provides a wide variety of services for students, staff and external conferences across a number of catering outlets around campus. The Catering for LIFE (Local, Independent, Fair, Ethical) initiative focuses on ethical standards - including offering Fairtrade products and using free range and locally-reared animals where possible - and good practices such as reducing food miles, promoting recycling and efficient waste management.
The FreeFrom Awards judges commented: "The University has clearly made an excellent effort to include a range of dishes and options for allergies and vegan diets - the staff are obviously proud of this and rightly so - they are knowledgeable and helpful with alternatives. The University should be congratulated for its clear commitment to staff and students with allergies - well done."
David Morton, University Catering Operations Manager, said: "One in ten people in the UK has a food allergy. At Winchester we are allergy aware and believe that allergy free food is an option not an afterthought.
"There has been a steady increase in requests for special diets amongst students, staff and visitors to the University and where possible we ensure that we cater for all our customers. Receiving a FreeFrom Gold Award is welcome recognition of our approach."
Pictured left to right in the photo above are: Stephen Doyle (Chef); Piotr Laba (Second Chef); Michelle Edwards (Head Chef) and Liam Flaherty (Chef).