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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!

The Big Dig

Posted on: May 30th, 2017 by pcEditor

We all know that the English weather can be unpredictable at best, but luckily for us, the rain held off for the Principals Big Dig at Warren Road Primary School in Orpington last week.

Principals had provided the school with various fruits and vegetables for the edible garden, to be planted by the school’s eco-team and their volunteering parents under the guidance of teacher Christine Milliband.

Warren Road’s teachers, parents and children were joined by the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Bromley as they celebrated Outdoor Classroom Day by planting cucumbers, aubergines, peas, chillies and strawberries in the school’s thriving garden. These will soon find their way onto the children’s plates at lunchtime and Principals hosted the day to promote healthy eating and raise awareness of sustainability.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Kevin Brooks, spoke about how happy he was to have been invited to such a great event which would help the children to gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from.

The children were eager to get their hands (and knees) dirty and even our own Operations Director Julian Rutherford was happy to lend a hand, helping the kids protect the strawberry plants with straw.

Once everybody was cleaned up, the Principals team, led by Clare Lock and Jane McIntyre, provided afternoon tea with chocolate and beetroot brownies, and the Deputy Mayor’s favourite of the day, courgette and lime cake, showing that healthy can still be delicious.

The team also shared recipes for zesty lime cake, apple flapjack and Caribbean spiced pasties to encourage the children to cook at home.

A great big thank you to Headteacher, Richard Edmonds, his staff, pupils and all those involved for making this day such a great success

For more images click on our Facebook page

Welcome Neil Price

Posted on: March 31st, 2017 by Jo

Scout leader, head chef and company chef for Principals, Neil Price knows a thing or two about what his main customers think.

Since moving from H+J, where he worked as head chef at British Council, to Principals, he’s been chatting to his primary school pupils every day.  “I actually spend a lot of time front of house, talking to the pupils.  Treating everyone, including a 5 year old child, like equals means they tell you anything.  I usually just ask them what they thought of their lunch, what they like to eat, and what they dislike.  They think we’re just having a chat, but little do they know I’m writing next week’s menu.”

“Young people are now more empowered than ever before, and they are even more exposed to farmers markets and street food stalls, visiting regularly with their friends and family.   We’re bringing this to our pupils, something a little different than the usual school catering – it’s what we are really great at and we love the flair and freedom to make school lunches more exciting.”

Principals unveils rebrand at EduKent EXPO and Conference 2016

Posted on: November 16th, 2016 by Jo


The Principals team were at EduKent EXPO and Conference last week to unveil the new Principals brand identity. Assistant Customer Service Manager, William Barlow was able supported by Trevor Hand, Harbour & Jones Company Chef and newly appointed Principals Company Chef, Neil Price.

We also took advantage of this occasion to launch our ‘school food plan’ which highlights five key areas where food can really make a difference to schools. These objectives are the ultimate focus for Principals’ existing and potential clients and include how to increase uptake; continual innovation; creating a culture of food; understanding the balance between food and physical activity; and promoting CSR.

At EduKent, which took place on 9th November at the Kent Showground in Maidstone, Principals offered attendees the chance to sample its healthy school menu choices, highlighting the importance of using locally sourced produce in support of the community. We chose to focus our sample menu on in-season Kentish apples, sourced from local suppliers, to create dishes such as pulled ham hock served with apple chutney, sweet potato and cauliflower couscous and a selection of yoghurt based slaws.

Peter McKenna at Principals says: “We are incredibly excited to have unveiled Principals’ new branding at EduKent Expo and Conference 2016. It is one of the leading educational catering events of the year and to be able to be a part of it, not only to showcase our new brand identity, but also to highlight our school food plan moving forward has been incredible. This year Principals has entered a new chapter: we have launched our new brand, become part of the Harbour & Jones family and gained 56 new contracts. I am looking forward to seeing where 2017 will take us.

Future Foodies

Posted on: October 3rd, 2016 by chandco

Future Foodies is our initiative to engage children in both primary and secondary schools in everything food; from where it comes from to how it’s cooked and how we write our menus. As part of this we’re running a classroom chefs programme where exciting menus from family, friends, the Sunday roast table or favourite holidays are submitted to our chef team. The very best dishes will make it onto our menus and children can win a meal of their choice for their entire class.

Watch this space for our Future Foodies cookbook!

Principals feeds bodies and minds with a simple and exciting approach

Posted on: September 14th, 2016 by chandco

At Principals we are committed to teaching children where their food comes from, bringing our farmers and growers into schools to meet their customers. We also support our primary schools with vegetable plots, growing kits and even hen houses with chickens!

We have now designed a virtual farm trip for older children, complete with farming tales, the  journey from pasture to plate, and real time webcam streams direct from the fields. This will be on tablet computers in dining rooms so that children can follow the story of their food and  really understand what goes into making their lunch.

We’re also teaching this age group how to feed the family on a budget and giving them tips on reducing food waste; composting kitchen leftovers for vegetable growing. We will soon have a harvest of red onions, garlic, potatoes, mint and coriander and the next challenge will be for the students to compose a menu using only these items plus three secret ingredients, so watch this space!

Principals sets up school of excellence at Hoo Academy

Posted on: September 1st, 2016 by chandco

We are setting the benchmark for other academies and secondary schools by creating a school of excellence, the first of which is in Hoo Academy in Kent.

Using skills honed in the world of business catering, we are bringing a new approach to school food, introducing on-trend ideas coupled with a contemporary look and feel for menus, point of sale, marketing and promotions so that pupils have a cool and exciting restaurant they can really call their own.

Our show stopping Urban Flavours street food bars bring the high street to the school yard, serving Moroccan sliders, folded calzone, peri peri chicken, authentic curries and hot wraps. Our Classic counter is more traditional, with Yard burgers and midweek roasts, noodles and stir fries, a hot deli, sweet treats and salads.

The first of many, this school of excellence represents our forward thinking outlook: constantly challenging ourselves, adapting to change and bringing verve and enthusiasm to everything we do.

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