Eating together in the Dining Hall is one of the key elements of Haileybury life and it is true to say that the food here is exceptional. Each day there is a rich variety on offer, from home-made soup and freshly-baked bread to delicious curries, mouthwatering pastries and always a large selection of fresh fruit. Freshly prepared in our own kitchens, the food here is a major highlight of College life.
At Haileybury, the preparation and enjoyment of food are seen as a core part of our duty to our pupils and staff. Healthy food is key to a healthy mind of course but equally important is the act of 'breaking bread together' – bringing pupils and College staff together where everyone can meet, share their day and talk about their experiences.
Working with Chartwells Independent, one of the UK's leading providers of high quality catering, Haileybury is justifiably famous for the quality of food on offer.
In total, 15 chefs take great pride in the food they create, making sure that every day there is an enormous choice of different foods to serve every dietary requirement.
Every menu is planned four weeks in advance and on a four-week cycle, with the catering team tweaking all menus in response to customer reaction.
Individual events are also catered for. These might include the preparations of specialist sports menus on days where sports activity is at its highest, themed dinners and suppers featuring regional fare, and the organisation and support of major events such as Haileybury's Leavers' Ball.
Of course, central to the task of the catering team is ensuring that each meal is nutritious, high-quality and part of a healthy, balanced diet. The team is determined that each meal should encourage a successful learning environment.
In the words of Chartwells, "Our chefs have a fantastic resource to draw on. It's our own electronic recipe book, developed uniquely and exclusively for independent schools. Written by chefs for chefs, it captures entrepreneurial flair and banishes the average. It creates perfect, nutritionally analysed, costed recipes that use fresh ingredients in perfect proportions."
In addition, the team works closely with pupils in areas such as sports nutrition and where pupils have special dietary requirements.
The team also contributes fundamentally to Haileybury's life skills programme, helping in areas such as cooking skills, making the right food choices, food safety, fridge temperature and kitchen tasks.
In a school the size of Haileybury, managing the feeding of so many pupils, teachers and College staff is no mean feat. It is the responsibility of our 50-strong catering team to make sure that nothing goes awry.
Over 2,000 meals are served each day (breakfast, lunch and supper) in the Dining Hall, not to mention mid-morning and afternoon snacks served in The Grubber, Haileybury's own informal cafe.
The team is highly experienced in predicting customer flow, event numbers, boarder volumes, weekend numbers and match visitors so that, whatever the occasion, the right amount of food is available at all times.
Chaired by Angus Head, Haileybury's Deputy Head (Co-curricular), the Food Committee is a fundamental part of the catering operation at the College.
Meeting every half term, the Food Committee includes a representative from each Boarding House. Suggestions from the Committee can include menu changes, ideas about dishes of the week and proposals for different theme days.
All in all, it can truly be said that food at Haileybury plays a central role in the function of the College. Everybody is involved, everybody contributes and everybody enjoys the results!
To see a typical menu and to learn more about Chartwells, who deliver our award-winning food, please view the links below.