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Principals by CH&CO is a proud sponsor of Young Cooks!

Posted on: July 10th, 2019 by pcEditor

Eating well is an important life skill and one that every child has a right to learn. We celebrate good food and give children the opportunity and confidence to see, smell, taste, feel and get hands on with different ingredients. That’s why we jumped at the chance of sponsoring the Young Cooks competition.

Young Cooks is organised by the children’s educational charity Inspire Schools, which operates in Kent as the KM Charity Team. The exciting cookery competition is designed to inspire children aged 6-19, from London, Kent and Sussex, to get creative in the kitchen.

With three categories to choose from, Primary School, Secondary School and Family, the MasterChef-style event encourages children and families to embrace the joy of cooking, whilst learning important life skills such as healthy eating, budgeting, lifestyle choices and seasonal, local produce.

There are cash prizes for the winners of each category, and a top prize of £200 for the overall champion.

Peter McKenna, sales director for Principals by CH&CO, took part in the official launch of the competition at Chequers Kitchen Cookery School in Deal. He went head to head with fellow judges in a challenge to create the best bacon, maple and spring onion scones. Head chef Pieter Van Zyl put them through their paces giving a taste of what’s in store for Young Cooks finalists.

“In our schools we encourage families to cook together through family cookery workshops, so it’s great to see that Young Cooks celebrates this too. I urge all schools, youth groups, parents, grandparents and guardians to get involved and encourage children and families to experience the joy and benefits that cooking, and cooking together, can bring. I wish everyone entering the very best of luck.”

Peter went on to say: “Young Cooks is a fantastic competition and we’re thrilled to be a sponsor. Our mission in all the schools that we work with is to make food fun for everyone, whilst teaching important life skills and the importance of nutritious food and cooking. It doesn’t get much more fun than getting stuck in and letting your creativity run wild in the kitchen! I certainly enjoyed baking with fellow judges at the launch. As the Garden of England, Kent is blessed with an abundance of delicious produce throughout the year, so the children should have plenty of inspiration.”

Entrants are required to cook one or two dishes – depending on competition category – and upload a photograph and recipe details to the Young Cooks website. The simple online entry form is to be completed before midnight on 7 November. Parents, guardians or teachers can assist in completing the online form.

Finalists will be invited to cook their signature dishes at a MasterChef-style cook-off which will be held at East Kent College in November.

Click here to watch the exciting video.

Any entries received by September 1 will go into a prize draw to win a pair of Eurostar tickets.

For more details, to request free promotional leaflets, or to enter, visit or contact Hannah Hawksworth at or on 0844 264 0291.

Palace visit for teacher award winner thanks to Principals by CH&Co.

Posted on: May 20th, 2019 by pcEditor

One of the winners of the London Teacher of the Year Awards will be off to Buckingham Palace.

The awards will be presented next month at a ceremony to be held at No 4 Hamilton Place, the Mayfair headquarters of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The team at Principals will be presenting the prize for overall London sports teacher of the year.

In keeping with the catering company’s status as a Royal Warrant holder and provider of services to the Royal Household, Principals by CH&Co will treat the winner of the award to a visit to the state rooms at Buckingham Palace, followed by refreshments at the palace’s Garden Cafe.

The winner teacher will be able to take up to three guests to the palace with them.

Our sales director Peter McKenna said: “We’re very excited about the awards. Principals by CH&Co, being a catering company, have an interest in sports: there’s an obvious link between sports, nutrition and food. So for us it’s a no-brainer.”

Organised by educational charity Inspire Schools, the awards recognise educational staff’s expertise, dedication and the vital contribution they make to the wider community.

There are separate awards for primary and secondary education, newly qualified teachers, support staff, volunteers and teams, and in a number of different specialities.

Awards coordinator Karen Brinkman said: “After months of hard work organising the awards, gathering nominations and selecting the winners, the London Teacher of the Year presentation ceremony is almost upon us, and everybody at Inspire Schools is so looking forward to it.

“It will be a fantastic evening. And, thanks to Principals by CH&Co, one lucky award winner will get to celebrate with a visit to Buckingham Palace.”

The other judging organisations for the awards include the London Borough of Bexley, the University of Greenwich, Kidzania, KCS, eTeach, Imperial College London, Century Tech and the Education People.

See for more details.

And watch a video in which Mr McKenna talks about the awards here:

CH&CO’s health and safety success recognised with third consecutive RoSPA Gold Award

Posted on: April 24th, 2019 by pcEditor

CH&CO has been awarded the highest accolade of a RoSPA Gold Award for the third year running, confirming its ongoing commitment to raising health and safety standards.

The award recognises CH&CO’s safety success across the diverse catering and hospitality business that employs over 6,450 people at more than 780 locations across the UK.

The internationally-renowned RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Health & Safety Awards is the longest-running industry awards scheme in the UK. Attracting entries from organisations around the world, it recognises achievement in health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

Emma Hill, Head of Food, Health, Safety and Environment, CH&CO, said: “We’re thrilled to have been awarded a RoSPA Gold Award for the third consecutive year. We work very hard, all year round, to make health and safety part of CH&CO’s culture and maintain our excellent safety standards across all our sites and offices.

RoSPA Gold Award winners, like CH&CO, have achieved a very high level of performance, demonstrating well-developed occupational health and safety management systems and culture, outstanding control of risk and very low levels of error, harm and loss.

Emma Hill, Head of Food, Health, Safety and Environment, CH&CO, said: “We’re thrilled to have been awarded a RoSPA Gold Award for the third consecutive year. We work very hard, all year round, to make health and safety part of CH&CO’s culture and maintain our excellent safety standards across all our sites and offices. We use a variety of training and communication tools to achieve this, and to have our practices and systems rubber stamped by a globally-respected and rigorous awards scheme is fantastic; we’re very proud of our safety success.”

Terry Waldron, COO, CH&CO, added: “Our business is all about people, from our teams in our sites and offices to our clients, customers and supplier partners. We have a responsibility to help them all get home safely at the end of the working day, and we take this very seriously. Our third consecutive RoSPA Gold Award upholds the clear and robust systems we have in place and our commitment to a positive health and safety culture.”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of qualifications, awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards have become the key fixture in the health and safety calendar. Highly-respected, with almost 2,000 entrants every year, RoSPA award winners benefit from the wide-ranging rewards of improved sector reputation.”

CH&CO will be presented with its award on Tuesday 18 June 2019 at ExCel, London.

Principals by CH&CO spreads festive cheer with a Christmas community pop-up at a Margate primary school

Posted on: December 19th, 2018 by pcEditor

Principals by CH&CO, in partnership with Northdown Primary School, Margate, is hosting a Christmas pop-up restaurant for the school and local community during the festive period.

Taking place on Thursday 20 December, pupils of the school and their families, plus members of the wider community, are invited to come along and share a delicious lunch with friends and neighbours and enjoy some seasonal fun.

Principals by CH&CO, the catering partner for Northdown Primary School, is providing lunch and its on-site team and people from the wider business will be giving their time voluntarily to prepare and serve hot and wholesome food.  Guests can look forward to a delicious menu featuring sausage and mash with onion gravy, salad, or homemade soup and freshly-baked bread, followed by a traditional dessert of apple crumble and custard. Tea, coffee and cakes will also be available.

Guests will enjoy the tasty lunch in the school hall, which, along with the tables, will be decorated in keeping with the season. Local businesses have kindly supported the Christmas pop-up restaurant by donating decorations and gifts for the event.

“We can’t wait to see the pupils and their families sharing a wholesome lunch and enjoying the festivities. It’s great that we’ve also been able to include members of the wider community, it’s going to be a truly magical and uplifting event.”

Peter McKenna, the sales director for Principals by CH&CO, said: “The team at Northdown Primary School is very excited to be hosting the Christmas pop-up restaurant. We’ve worked with the school for 12 years and in this time, we’ve become part of the school community. Our involvement and contribution to the school goes beyond serving nutritious, tasty lunches during term time, we’re committed to sharing the joy and benefits of good food and mealtimes with pupils and parents beyond the classroom. So, when the team was asked to give up their time to help bring this great initiative to life, they jumped at the chance!

“Food is a wonderful way to bring communities together, and what better time of year than at Christmas. We can’t wait to see the pupils and their families sharing a wholesome lunch and enjoying the festivities. It’s great that we’ve also been able to include members of the wider community, it’s going to be a truly magical and uplifting event.”

Sheila Todd, the head teacher at Northdown Primary School, said: “The Christmas pop-up restaurant is a fantastic way to bring the school and local community together and spread a little festive cheer. It’s going to be a joyous event for everyone, and our pupils won’t recognise the school hall.

“It’s been great to work with our catering partner, Principals by CH&CO, on this event. They’ve played a big part in bringing this to life and been very generous in providing and creating the delicious lunch and giving their time on the day. I’d also like to thank all the local businesses that contributed by donating decorations and gifts.”

Principals by CH&CO starts the 2018/19 school year with new openings worth £7.5m

Posted on: October 2nd, 2018 by pcEditor

Principals by CH&CO has had a strong start to the new school year with more than 16 new schools opening this term adding to the current established portfolio.

The new partnerships have a total value in turnover of £7.5m for the duration of the contracts and will see the specialist school caterer strengthen its foothold in its homestay of Kent and break into London and Surrey. This success has been built on the team securing both individual schools and small clusters through recommendations and network.

According to client feedback, Principals by CH&CO was successful because of its reputation to develop unique solutions for each school, for growing uptake and for generating interest in food in the classroom, dining hall and home.

Great tasting, nutritious food on the menu is a given, but it’s the way that the on-site Principals by CH&CO teams engage and excite children, staff and parents to create a joyous, positive food culture that stands out. Initiatives and innovations that have captured imaginations and enhanced food experiences include street food pop-ups to introduce new flavours, tastes and textures and an interactive ‘family service’ concept that empowers children to serve themselves at the table, assisted by an adult, helping them build social skills and confidence and teaching appropriate portion size, as well as adding enjoyment to meal times.

I’ve been into the kitchens of our new schools and the atmosphere is brilliant and the teams’ dedication to creating exciting food experiences is palpable – there’s a real buzz!

Through food, Principals by CH&CO also supports school life throughout the year. From school gardens that inspire children as they follow the life of food from seed to the kitchen and plate, to sports, school events and special calendar occasions, food has an important role to play and is linked with the curriculum wherever possible.

Peter McKenna, sales director for Principals by CH&CO, said: “It’s been an incredible start to the new school year and we’re thrilled to be extending our reach into London and Surrey. Principals by CH&CO is in a strong position and this is down to our innovative, creative approach that enables us to build genuine partnerships with the schools we work with and be a positive part of a school community.  I’ve been into the kitchens of our new schools and the atmosphere is brilliant and the teams’ dedication to creating exciting food experiences is palpable – there’s a real buzz!

“This is a new, exciting chapter for the business as we enjoy continued growth and move into new areas. We also benefit from great support from the wider CH&CO business in the form of outstanding nutrition and culinary expertise and excellent support in marketing, procurement, finance, training and development, to name just a few!”

“Our ethos is to work with the right schools that we can build true partnerships with, and not growth for growth sake. We have great people in our teams who want to make a real difference to the children and school communities we work with, beyond what’s on the plate. Take our new family service concept, for example. In modern society, not every child sits down for family meals at home and important development and life skills are in danger of being lost. We’re in a position to give children experiences in the dining hall that they can take with them throughout their lives, and it’s important that we do this.”

Sun, fun and a soaking for some at the Principals summer bash!

Posted on: September 7th, 2018 by pcEditor

Our annual Principals summer party to celebrate our teams and all their hard work took place on the first Saturday in September, at South Avenue Primary School in Kent. Held for the first time under the umbrella of our parent company CH&CO, fortunately there was no need for real umbrellas as the sun had decided to put his hat on after being hidden behind clouds all week.

More than 250 Principals team members and their families joined us for live music, children’s entertainment and a delicious BBQ, superbly manned by our Managing Director Derick Martin, chefs Gary McKechnie and Neil Price and Principals Operations Director Julian Rutherford.

Jane McIntyre (known as Principal’s Mary Berry) had devised an interactive cookie stall which attracted children and adults of all ages and there was plenty to do when everyone had had their fill. Face painting, a carousel, a helter-skelter, Zorb balls, a laser tag maze and circus school kept the children entertained while the young-at-heart could relive their youth with the egg & spoon and sack races. We think the temptation of the champagne prizes might have influenced some of the participants to have a go!

Despite the dry weather, a few members of the team including Derick and Julian, ended up getting a drenching in the stocks from well-aimed water-logged sponges. Who knew our Principals colleagues were such experts in throwing sponges as well as baking them!

A great time was had by all and we’re already plotting who will be put in the stocks next year……

Edible art and glorious singing greet the Mayor at Norbury Manor School

Posted on: July 24th, 2018 by pcEditor

“Sunlight shine” is the title of Norbury Manor Primary School’s new school song and the sun certainly did its bit at the launch party, with the temperature reaching a sweltering 31 degrees!

The heat didn’t stop the fun though, as the Mayor of Croydon, local MP Steve Reed, parents and guests gathered to hear the children sing the stirring chorus. They then toured the school, spending time with the children and even got to meet the famous Norbury chickens, hand-picked from Second Chance Animal Rescue and given to Norbury Manor by school caterer Principals.

“What is Art?” was the theme of the day in the dining hall and the Principals team laid on a fun interactive feast with decorate-your-own-cupcakes, a six-foot-long Jackson Pollock-style pudding table laden with macaroons, meringues, lemon drizzle and red velvet squares, flapjacks and cotton candy, and surprisingly popular nettle cupcakes in the foraging section.

There was plenty to go around and all the children eagerly ate lunch in anticipation of the indulgent treats.

Headteacher Sonia Potter had this to say about the day: “The Big Event was indeed Norbury Manor Primary School’s time to shine.  From chickens to Natural Norbury, food art to Bollywood dance, I proudly stood back and witnessed our pupils and staff model our vision, values and aspirations through art.  ‘All the world is a stage, and all its men and women are players.’ At Norbury Manor, we shared with our community what it really means to be part of our educational world, and our new school song produced by White Hut Studio captured our motto that ‘Every Moment Counts’ and that we strive to ensure that our pupils are learners today and leaders tomorrow.”

You can keep up to date with the Norbury chickens and all the happenings at the school by following them on Twitter @schoolnmps.

Finding your voice, foraging and food with Principals at the English Speaking Union

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by pcEditor

On 24th January Principals team were delighted to welcome Prue Leith and Lord Boateng to their landmark event “Beyond the Classroom” to discuss the future of school catering.

Prior to the main event, while the children attended a “finding your voice” workshop hosted by The English Speaking Union, our new Principals initiatives including a foraging demonstration, waste not recipes and new school cookery classes were unveiled to parents and teachers.

After a speech from Prue and Lord Boateng, the children had their opportunity to ask questions and receive autographs.

Prue Leith said “For many children their ONLY hope of learning to eat well is at school. Caterers can do that vital job, by getting kids to love good food. I think learning about food— cooking, growing sustainability, food politics — is every bit as important as maths and English.  It’s wonderful to see Principals supporting them with realistic and exciting initiatives that can change mindsets and outcomes in classrooms, dining halls and homes. I welcomed the opportunity to support the Principals event.”

The guests were treated to a school dinner inspired canape menu with a modern twist including cowboy stew, fish and chips and jelly and ice cream.

Peter McKenna, Principals’ Sales Manager, said:“Schools are well placed to drive change through direct communication and action with pupils, parents and guardians. By showing them the benefits of healthy eating and giving them the life skills to choose and cook healthy sustainable dishes, behaviours can be changed for the better, regardless of background.”

If you’d like to know more about how Principals can bring Beyond the Classroom to your school please email

Up for a soaking on a sunny day in Sittingbourne

Posted on: September 8th, 2017 by pcEditor

Harbour & Jones and Principals welcomed over 200 team members and their families to all the fun of the fairground at a special summer party held on Saturday 2nd September 2017.

As a thank you from Harbour & Jones for all their hard work, Principals staff and their families were treated to an afternoon of delicious barbecue food, cooked by Nathan and Patrick, and plenty of entertainment during the daytime party which took place in the sports field of South Avenue School in Sittingbourne, Kent.

The guests tucked in to home-made burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, jacket potatoes and salads at the fairground-themed party. A cake and bake stall, ice-creams, toffee apples, candy floss and pick ‘n’ mix sweets were also on offer for those with a sweet tooth.

There was a varied assortment of funfair activities for the young and the young at heart to enjoy, including a helter-skelter, bouncy castles, spinning teacups, a face painting station, photo booth and circus workshop sessions.

Guests were also invited to guess the sweets in the jar and to enter the raffle with Champagne prizes. All to the funky sounds of the party band FR.

One of the highlights of the day was when our very own Operations Director Julian Rutherford bravely entered the stocks, faced with sponge-holding fellow members of the staff. With typical good nature, he endured a soaking from some well-aimed throws and a fun filled day was had by all!

Introducing Peter McKenna

Posted on: August 25th, 2017 by pcEditor

Introducing Peter McKenna

We’d like you to meet the team. Peter is our Sales manager at Principals.

Peter is originally from Belfast but has been living in London since 1999.

He has recently reached his one year anniversary at Principals, and was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us.

Firstly, congratulations on completing your first year with Principals!


What is your role at Principals?

Sales manager – so I actively seek new opportunities, manage relationships, network and win new business for Principals. I like to make of most of technology in this role and in 2015 I was awarded a Catey for my technical wizardry.

Have you always been in sales?

No. I was in operations on the high street with Cafe Nero, Eat, Costa and was Food & Beverage manager at Selfridges.  I also worked in a marketing role for many years.

If you didn’t work in the food industry, what area would you would be in?

I volunteer at Battersea Dogs Home as a dog socialiser with large breed dogs so I’d definitely do that full time.

Tell us a little bit about your role as ambassador for Stonewall?

I work with them to ensure we are a fully inclusive employer, meaning we provide a safe place to work for our LGBT employees.  In addition, I am assisting them with their fundraising by providing venue support and organising discounts.  I also hosted a base camp at our Charing Cross Road support office for this year’s Pride, for all of their teams involved in the march.

What is your food-related guilty pleasure?

I am obsessed with BIRD in Shoreditch, a complete menu of fried chicken.  My idea of food heaven.

What do you wish you had invented?

BIRD in Shoreditch!

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Dundrum in Ireland.  A 10 mile golden sandy beach at the base of the Mourne Mountains (where they film Game of Thrones). It’s a magical, peaceful and inspiring place.

What would be your perfect weekend off?

Watching something by Marvel with my three dogs and endless snacks (It has to be cold and rainy outside to make this truly special).

Finally, if you could invite three people to dinner, either from the past, or the present, who would they be and why?

I’d say three of the Golden Girls but I can’t decide which three.  Imagine how much laughter there would be!

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