Somerset Larder makes sure Hinkley Point C team members are well fed and watered. Serving thousands of meals on site each day, the consortium also dishes up local job and business opportunities. Victoria O’Connor, Catering Operations Manager, explains how.
Q: How has Somerset Larder helped local people and companies become such an important part of Hinkley Point C?
A: It’s a cooperative of local food producers who came together to cater for the project. It’s created local jobs as a result, both on site at Hinkley Point C and at the Central Production Kitchen (CPK) in North Petherton. Michael Caines MBE, chef patron of Lympstone Manor in Devon, and holder of two Michelin Stars, will be officially opening it in December.
Q: Why was it needed?
A: We ran out of space on site, so built a brand-new catering facility. Forty people now work in the 900m3 unit, including the bakery team, which supplies the project with our own pastries, cakes and bread. Food prepared in our Central Production Kitchen is transported to Hinkley Point C in our own fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles.
Q: What’s the company all about?
A: From creating jobs, great tasting food and opportunities for local businesses, to developing our people, Somerset Larder is all about nourishing the community. It’s our strapline and our driving force.
Q: Who are you catering for?
A: Every day on site, 4,500 people are served good quality meals and snacks – from fresh salads and sandwiches to delicious hot roast dinners, drinks and cakes. There are always hungry team members wanting a good start to their working day and we recently celebrated serving the 200,000th full English breakfast eaten on site since 2016 and dishing up our 2 millionth meal!
Q: That’s an awful lot of food, what’s involved in feeding so many people?
A: We have 140 colleagues – mostly people from the local area – helping to run our operation, from preparing and serving food, to sourcing quality, local ingredients. Somerset Larder supplies the project with fresh, seasonal food from local businesses and producers so it doesn’t have far to travel. For example, we get 85% of our meat from well-known butcher Pyne’s of Somerset, in North Petherton; all our fruit and veg comes from Bristol-based farmer Arthur David; and our dairy is from Gundenham’s farm in Wellington.
Q: So as well as quality, sustainability is important to you?
A: Absolutely! Along with making sure everyone working on the project feels well cared for with delicious and nutritious food throughout their day, it’s a big focus for us. When it comes to our environmental efforts, as well as sourcing seasonal, local foods, ethical ingredients are on the menu too. Where possible, our fish is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, the eggs we use are free range, and we serve ethically-sourced coffee too.
Q: What else is a focus for the company?
A: We try to be as environmentally friendly as we can when it comes to waste. Around 95% of the packaging waste we produce on site is made from plant-based materials that biodegrade within 12 weeks. And we’re always on the look-out for new ways to re-use waste, such as refining oils and fats for use as vehicle fuel.
Supplies in stats
99,700 eggs from Gundenham’s Dairy company sold a month
300,000 cups of coffee sold a year, made using beans from Clifton Coffee Company in Bristol
400,000 kilos of vegetables sourced from Bristol-based farmer Arthur David
7,800 sausages from Pyne’s sold per day on average in our cafés
305 kilos of flour from MJ Bakers in Newton Abbott used to bake our giant J0 celebration cake
The family who feed
When it gets busy in Hinkley Point C’s C Café, Lucy Bingham can rely on the support of the team around her, especially Supervisor Denise, who’s also her mum.
Both are from Bridgwater and Denise has worked on site since 2014. General Assistant Lucy joined at the end of 2016 and she now helps to mentor new starters. Lucy said: “I enjoy explaining how things work and checking how people are getting on. I had no idea what to expect when I came to the site. I was lucky to have my mum around to guide me, and really enjoy working here with her.
“I had no barista experience when I joined but now I love the art of making coffee – it’s so interesting to learn how to make the drinks.”
This article first appeared in Plugged In
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