A MASTERCHEF contestant has defended his catering company after parents at a local school complained about the dinners he was supplying.

Nick Collins appeared on MasterChef: The Professionals in 2008, and in 2015 set up hugely successful catering company Cleverchefs. The company supplies food to schools in Cowbridge, Cardiff and 80 other sites across the UK - but it seems standards in Penarth are set that bit higher.

One parent, who does not want to be named, wrote to the Penarth Times saying “standards have dropped”.

She complained there was no warning of increased prices, or menu changes when Stanwell School chose to change its catering from Vale Council’s Big Fresh Catering Company to Mr Collins’ outfit.

The parent claimed children were reporting that they were either going hungry, as they didn’t have enough money, or spent way too much just to have a basic meal.

There is even a ‘Stanwell Scran’ Instagram page where pictures are posted with comments like a photo of a stack of doughnuts with the line, “I see a new menu means a new interpretation of what 'five a day' means”.

Penarth Times:

Parents say prices have gone up
Penarth Times:

Claims standards have dropped

Make own sandwiches and using whole foods like crème fresh and yoghurt

Nick Collins was willing to stand by his product when we contacted him and made an impassioned defence of his food, saying he has shielded parents from unprecedented food price increases and given their children wider options of better quality food.

“We have a healthy range of food on offer,” said Mr Collins.

“Yes our prices have gone up around four per cent, but current costs of food have gone up as much as 19 per cent.

“There’s been very little complaints considering the 2,000 students.”

Vale Council confirmed the school had decided to go down a different catering option and Mr Collins said the school was looking for a fresher alternative.

“The school decided to take us on because we do not provide processed food,” said Mr Collins

“All our food is fresh. We make our own sandwiches, and we use whole foods like crème fresh and yoghurt.”

Penarth Times:

Some of the food on show on Cleverchefs website. Photo Cleverchefs

Mr Collins is so confident of his product he is willing to invite parents to come along and try the food he is supplying the kids at Stanwell, particularly those with concerns.

“We are trying our best and we have some amazing chefs and amazing people working on this,” said Mr Collins.

“We are going to invite parents to come try the school and particularly we want the ones concerned to come along.”

What is the food like under the new caterers at Stanwell School in Penarth? Let us know at harry.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk