David Ward, an executive chef with Sodexo Scotland, has been named Contract Caterer of the Year for his innovative work at the University of Stirling.

Ward took the prize in the prestigious Catering in Scotland (CIS) awards, beating strong competition from candidates from Inspire Catering and Baxterstorey.

Among those who nominated him for the award - which is based on innovation, improved service and development of staff and products - were Benjamin Bel, general manager at the University of Stirling, and award-winning chef Willie Pike.

The improvements he has instigated since Sodexo won the contract in 2009, have included visits to schools in
Stirlingshire to give cookery classes and talks on healthy living, and a demonstration of French cooking for a school which was having a French themed day.

At the awards ceremony in the Glasgow Hilton, the judges said of Ward: “In 2010, this chef’s client waxed lyrical after only a year in situ and now all major stakeholders in this contract have nothing but praise for our winner. External recognition is undeniable; one of the strongest the Board has ever seen.

“Nominated by three different people, it just shows how strongly peers respect this chef’s talent and the nominations provided evidence in abundance across the selection criteria. One of the nominees described this chef as a ‘Culinary Warrior’ and he’s certainly won this highly contested battle.”

Ward said: “I am absolutely delighted that myself and the whole team here have been recognised by our industry peers for the work we do at the University. We have constantly strived to improve the quality of the food and the service we provide and it is a real privilege to be honoured in this way.”

Graham Box, managing director of Sodexo Scotland, said: “David is a highly skilled chef with a real focus on both delighting customers and developing his team. This is well-deserved recognition of his commitment and I am delighted for him and Sodexo.”

Bel said:”David has shown tremendous professionalism and commitment in making the University catering services best in class while engaging with the communities here in Stirling. David deserves every bit of recognition for establishing Sodexo here as a leader in delivering catering services for universities in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

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