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TUCO 2017 - driving learning, development and innovation

Hundreds of caterers from the FE and HE sector gather at the University of Nottingham for the TUCO Annual Conference

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | July 28, 2017 | Catering & hospitality

Members of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) have travelled from across the UK for the inspirational three-day event designed to drive learning, development and product innovation.

TUCO is the leading membership organisation for in-house caterers operating in the Higher and Further education sectors.

This year’s conference focused on the theme of ‘Health, Wealth and Wellbeing.’ The event’s panel of high-profile speakers included award-winning food blogger, Deliciously Ella; five-time Olympic Champion, Sir Steve Redgrave; and Thomasina Miers, Co-Founder of Wahaca.

Ending on a high, attendees gathered last night for a glittering awards ceremony to celebrate the outstanding achievements of staff at all levels within TUCO’s member institutions.

The winners of the first TUCO Awards were revealed as:  

Rising Star: Terri Sadler, Royal Holloway, University of London
This award recognises an individual catering or bar professional who is seen as an emerging talent with future potential within the industry. 

Innovation: The University of Leeds
This award recognises a university or college that has successfully launched a new development or refurbishment in the past 12 months

Sustainability: The University of Manchester.
The Sustainability Award recognises the university or college catering team that has taken the most innovative steps to neutralise its impact on the environment in the past 12 months.

TUCO Team of the Year: The University of Huddersfield.
Team of the Year rewards the procurement or catering team that best demonstrates collaborative working to deliver significant service improvement to its customers.

TUCO Member of the Year: The University of South Wales.
This award recognises the member institution that has made a significant contribution to the work of TUCO. 

Matt White, Chair of TUCO, said: “Each year, at the annual conference, our ambition is to not only inspire members but also share first-class knowledge so that they can incorporate new, up-to-date ideas into their own catering methods.  

“I am delighted to say that this year’s packed events schedule didn’t fail to impress, with guests treated to a line-up of outstanding speakers providing an array of inspirational, thought-provoking, and fun sessions. Attendees had the chance to learn about everything from gastrophysics and multi-sensory dining to how to unleash potential through laughter and the key principles of brain food.  

“This year, we also introduced our first ever TUCO Awards, to recognise, and more importantly celebrate, the fantastic achievements and contributions of our member institutions. The quality of the award entries was extremely high and a real testament to all the hard work put in by FE and HE catering teams up and down the country. I would like to offer a massive congratulations to all the winners, as well as those who were shortlisted – they’ve really set the bar high for next year!” 

This year’s conference also saw 16 TUCO members arrive by bike, after completing a 100-mile Cycle Challenge for the Chair’s charity, Mary’s Meals. The ride started in Manchester at TUCO’s HQ and finished 12 hours later at the University of Nottingham, raising a total of £12,500 for the charity which aims to provide a meal every day for the world’s poorest children.

For more information about TUCO go to or follow on Twitter @TUCOLtd

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