Hello, my name is Mel Fox and I am Senior Catering Manager for Busy Bees.
I work alongside two other colleagues and between us we help support Nursery Managers, Nursery Chefs and Parents with any Catering concerns.
A little bit about me...
After I obtained my BTEC HND in Catering & Institutional Management in London, I started working for Gardner Merchant a Contract Caterer in large companies
as a Chef Manager. I did this successfully for a number of years before joining Jigsaw Day Nurseries as a Nursery cook. Whilst in this position I took
myself back to college and obtained Level 4 in Food Hygiene and also a Teachers Training Certificate which meant that I could train other chefs and
nursery staff in food hygiene and company policies and procedures.
When Jigsaw Day Nurseries was acquired by Leapfrog Day Nurseries I then was asked to take charge of the Catering Department as this had significantly grown.
I then took a position at Head Office which meant I could then go out and visit the nurseries, auditing kitchens and support the catering staff.
As the company was now so big I made the decision to change the nurseries to a centralised menu and look at our suppliers and try to make them more streamlined.
This again was successful, and it was something that when Busy Bees acquired Leapfrog Day Nurseries it was easy to implement across the whole nursery estate.
Where I am now...
All of the nurseries follow the same menu cycle; I have worked with the School Food Trust who have given advice on how our menus should be.
I work closely with the Soil Association and Busy Bees is currently at Silver level which guarantees the quality of ingredients into our nurseries.
When I visit the nurseries in Busy Bees it is hugely satisfying to know that our children are being fed a balanced and nutritious meal
daily using local quality ingredients. And it's good to get feedback from parents who say that "they wish they were staying for lunch as it smells so good".
I began working at Busy Bees in 1984 as the chef in the first nursery, Rocklands in Lichfield.
As Busy Bees grew I moved to work as a catering and food safety advisor for the company, with a 10 year background in NHS catering managing a large
kitchen operation catering for up to 800 patients and staff, I was able to develop a Food Safety System and other food service
policies for Busy Bees. Establishing quality food suppliers.
I have been responsible for planning and equipping new kitchens, auditing and monitoring service standards in existing kitchens. Recruiting and training chefs.
Liaising with outside agencies such as Environmental Health, and engaging in Healthy eating projects.
After 30 years I am still involved in day to day operations of kitchens and I offer support to nursery managers and chefs so that they can provide good quality safe food to children.
Hello my name is Matthew Clarke and I am one of the Catering Managers with Busy Bees.
After qualifying as a chef at Westminster Kingsway College in London and several years working in fine dining restaurants I started working for Busy Bees in
2008 after the birth of my first child when my interest in child nutrition and development grew.
I started with the company as a chef in one of their nurseries during which time I completed further training in food hygiene and child nutrition.
My passion for fresh food and for children to get great first experience with food also led me to run parent cook courses and to branch
out of the nursery into other local Busy Bees nurseries doing a wide range of educational cooking activities with the children.
I progressed to my current position after the acquisition of the Just Learning/Care share group in 2012 and with that passion still my main driving force
I now support chefs across my region. In addition to ensuring that they are all producing fresh healthy food for the children in there care
according to our company menus I also encourage them to do a range of cooking activities with both the children and the parents of the nurseries.
My role has meant that I have had the privilege to work closely on the menu's and was part of starters being introduced onto Busy Bees menus,
an idea that I saw in some Just Learning nurseries and was really inspired by.
In addition to my supporting role I teach both the Busy Bees nutrition and practical course. Accredited courses that are available to our chefs enabling
them to develop greater knowledge about nutrition in early years or to give them the skills needed to provide the very best food to the children in their care.
Sally Anne Smith
Hi, I am Sally Anne Smith. I was born and raised in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
I attended High Peak Catering College in Buxton, Derbyshire for 2 years where I took my City and Guilds 706 1 and 2.
I have worked in the catering industry since 1989 having gained experience as a chef in hotels, restaurants and residential homes. I joined Leapfrog Day Nursery in March 2001 and worked as head chef at Derby, Heatherton.
In 2005 I was promoted to Regional Chef and now support all Busy Bee Day Nursery kitchens.
I enjoy covering absent chefs and particularly enjoy helping and sharing my knowledge with our other chefs. While working at Busy Bees I have also gained further training and
have completed a first aid course, Level 3 Hygiene and a City and Guilds Nutrition course.