World's First

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil Catering Company

Watch our ‘Nature to Nurture’ video here.

With thanks to Birtwisles Butchers, Dee Point Primary School, Rivacre Valley Primary School, Meadow Primary School and Westminster Community Primary School.

Filmed and edited by Edsential marketeer: Daniel Reece

Catering with Edsential

Our School Catering service brings a fresh and energetic approach to providing top quality meals at lunchtime and at other times during the school day to deliver a whole school approach to provision of food. Our purpose is to provide children with healthy, affordable food choices that will help them perform well in school.

Our aim is to achieve the best for your school, your students, staff and governors nurturing positive client relationships, empowering a skilled workforce and driving a culture of high expectations.

This service is available to all primary, secondary and special schools.

What Good Looks Like

Check our progress at
What good looks like (1)

We provide 28,000 meals per day across the primary and secondary sectors

There are so many reasons for children to be encouraged to have a school lunch. You can be assured that all of our menus meet the School Food Standards and the ingredients we use meet the Soil Association Food For Life Bronze Award. We provide fresh, nutritionally balanced food along with a varied choice of great salads, fresh bread and delicious fruit every day.

  • All meat is ‘Red Tractor’ assured. This ensures food and drink is traceable, safe to eat, produced responsibly and British…plus meets animal welfare & environmental guidelines.
  • All our meat comes from Birtwisle’s Butchers, a traditional local butcher based in Northwich. This ensures we can trace top quality meat from ‘Field to Fork’ in line with the ‘Red Tractor’ standards.
  • We only use Red Lion Eggs. The scheme provides an assurance that hens and their eggs meet stringent International standards, are British and not reared in cages.
  • Our food is assured by the RSPCA, who are dedicated to farm animal welfare. This ensures that the food we use comes from farm animals who were treated with compassion & respect throughout their lives.
  • All our fish is certified as ‘Fish to Eat’ – meaning it is sourced responsibly and comes from a certified sustainable fishery. This protects and safeguards seafood supplies.
  • We use ‘Soil Association’ approved organic foods. This ensures that they meet the highest standards of animal welfare, environmental and wildlife protection.
  • We use Fairtrade produce. Our food is procured responsibly and ethically, promoting the protection of workers’ rights and safe working environments.
  • All our lunches adhere to the ‘5-a-day’ guidelines.

We Offer:

  • Provision of meals at lunchtime and at other times during the school day, i.e.: morning break and hospitality including inset day provision, school outings ad community events.
  • A range of exciting menus that are compliant with school food standards and allergens
  • Menus to cater for most special, cultural, ethical and religious diets
  • Compliance with legislative requirements on Food Safety and Health & Safety
  • Support to deliver cooking on the curriculum and to the wider community
  • Performance monitoring to control costs, drive performance and deliver quality for a service that meets your schools catering needs

Benefits to your school:

  • Achieving and delivering compliance standards around food quality further supports positive standards on pupil behaviour which positively impacts behaviour and attainment.
  • Evidencing a culture of healthy eating positively contributes to your schools OFTSED rating around personal development, behaviour and welfare for pupils.
  • KPIs covering finance, service usage, health and safety and hygiene as examples will help all of us to monitor and report on performance, understand how we compare and our opportunity to continuously improve.

Our Team

Tracy Moore – Head of Catering

With over 31 years experience in all sectors of the catering industry and over 18 years in school meals, I am really proud to lead the catering team at Edsential.

My experience together with my love of food and enthusiasm for delivering great customer service, are put to good use working in partnership with our schools across Cheshire and Wirral.

I am passionate about feeding children the best meal possible and ensuring we continue to provide the highest quality food, service, innovation and improvement within our school meal provision.

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Sarita Wallis – Menu & Supply Chain Manager

Sarita has undertaken various roles in school catering and has a strong passion for food and ensuring children receive the best meals daily. Sarita ensures that all food sourced is of the highest quality, freshness and meets the strict food standards criteria. Sarita is also responsible for menu development.

Jan Barlow – Business Manager

Jan has experience in the education sector of catering and retail management. Her expertise is in customer service. Her 19 years in catering gives her unparalleled knowledge to help schools operate an efficient catering provision. Jan works with a high number of schools, supporting teams to become as effective as possible.


Jo Redican – Business Manager

Joanne has experience across both private and public sector and has experience in delivering high quality catering from the school kitchen right through to fine dining establishment. Joanne is also a qualified level 3 NVQ training instructor and has delivered to Blue Chip companies. Joanne joined the Catering team 14 years ago and her skills lie in empowering and motivating teams.

Christine Penney – Business Manager

Christine specialises in the secondary sector and she spent many years running one of the busiest high school kitchens in the county. Christine was promoted to Operations Manager over 10 years ago and now works across both the primary and secondary sectors supporting schools and staff in delivering high quality provision.


Our Food

The Perfect Accompaniments

Free ParentPay* – Meal selection made easy

ParentPay is the leading cashless school payment system, which reduces administration, eliminates cash handling and reduces costs in a safe secure way. The system enables parents to pay for meals, trips, clubs and more. ParentPay can also enable meals to be selected in the classroom or at home on the day or in advance -reducing waste and saving precious classroom time.

* as part of a three-year contract

Pupil’s Voice

Over the next year we will place our Pupil Voice application in all our school dining rooms. Pupil Voice is a simple application, which collects useful data and information on an individual or group experience. Using Pupil Voice will enable pupils to provide immediate feedback on their school lunch. This data will be invaluable in determining if pupils are happy and enjoying their school meal. Benefits of the app are that it will feed in to our staff performance management and enable you to reflect on the success of school lunch.


Edsential Business Manager

Every Edsential Catered school is assigned their own personal Business Manager. Our business managers are highly experienced and know the challenges that face your school and your catering team. Edsential Business Managers will support you and the catering team with any day-to-day concerns ensuring that any issues are resolved as quickly as possible.


Our tablet/web-based kitchen administration & management system. Cypad works in tandem with ParentPay meal selection, recording pupil choices, the number of meals and orders the right amount of food. Cypad makes us flexible and very efficient, which enables us to be more cost effective, so we can provide better quality food. Cypad also provides performance indicators to enable better monitoring of the service you receive.











The People Who Make it Happen

We recognise that our staff are our most important resource. They are directly responsible for delivering your service and often considered to be part of the school.

Our specialist, in-house staff training follows a formal training plan to ensure that all staff are provided with the skills they require to deliver excellence, including:

  • NVQ Catering qualifications
  • Food Hygiene
  • Health & Safety – including Manual Handling, COSHH and Customer Service Training.

We look for talented staff who are motivated, dedicated and want to produce fabulous and memorable food!

Rhona Curtis – Higher Bebington Junior School

I have been a cook at Higher Bebington for the last 12 years. I trained as a chef and worked in industrial catering, until leaving to have children. This job could not have suited me better as I get to work around the school day and term times. Initially employed by Metro Services until latter years when Edsential took up the reins.

School dinners to me conjure up thoughts of spam fritters, lumpy mash and cold beans and this really couldn’t be further from the truth! The vast majority of our meals are made from scratch with fresh vegetables, herbs and meat from a local butcher. Roast dinners really are made with beautifully cut joints of meat with all the trimmings. Freshly made bread and fresh fruit are readily available.

I work with a great team of ladies and I always say, “you have to come to work with a smile and leave with a smile” and as cliched as that may sound that is what we have in our kitchen.

If you were to tell me 12 years ago that I would still be working as a ‘dinner lady‘ in 12 years’ time I would never have believed you, it is testimony to Metro/Edsential and school dinners that I am.

There is no better compliment than seeing children cheering when their favourite meal is on the menu or telling you how much they love school dinners.

Our Menus

All menus run on a 3 week cycle and support ‘Sugar Swap & Juice Free Days’, as well as Meat Free Fridays. Also available daily, is freshly baked bread, seasonal vegetables, salad, fresh fruit and organic yoghurt.

All Edsential menus meet the ‘School Food Standards‘ and the ‘Food for Life Served Here‘ Bronze criteria, approved by the Soil Association ensuring the food on the plate is high quality.

We like to give schools the option of allowing pupils to participate in choosing their favourite menus, by choosing as a whole class/school or via a focus/school council group.

We like to share and talk about the menus on offer with pupils. This is to promote element of the choice and empower children in your school to be ambassadors for new menus. We believe a menu that is chosen by pupils will encourage uptake.

You can read more about school food standards on the School Food Plan website.

Competitions & Events

We run half-termly competitions, which all our schools have an opportunity to take part it.

Year End Photo Competition 2019

Thank you to all who have shared your wonderful photos over the last 12 months. The following schools have been chosen by Ian McGrady to receive a prize. Well Done!

Woodlands Primary (Jnr) - Cool Cauli!
St Peter’s Heswall – World Book Day
Belgrave – Yummy wouldn’t you want to eat here?

Catering Awards Evening

The summer of 2019 saw the First Edsential Catering Awards evening, where we looked to award our staff for their service and commitment.