Mary’s school meals service rewarded with MBE
Mary Bliszczak, the training co-ordinator for Cambridgeshire Catering and Cleaning Services (CCS), was awarded an MBE, (Members of the Order of the British Empire) for services to school food in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
A spokesman for CCS said: “Through sheer dedication and placing the importance of providing healthy and nutritious school food at the centre of her work, Mary has become the role model she is to her colleagues today.”
Mary described herself as passionate about school meals which had been an important part of her life since her children reached school age.
She said: “It is extremely rewarding to see happy, smiling children enjoying a healthy balanced meal with their friends at school.”
She joined Cambridgeshire school meals in 1976, working as a catering assistant in Peterborough.
She quickly moved through the ranks and became the school caterer at Orton Longueville School. During this time she completed her City and Guilds qualification at Peterborough College on day release and in 1983 progressed to the role of area supervisor.
In 1991 she moved into the role of training officer for Cambridgeshire Catering Service (CCS) and six years ago was promoted to her present position as training co-ordinator.
With the help of her team, Mary delivers craft, theory and all mandatory courses. In addition, she develops training programmes for a variety of internal courses that take place at the CCS FEAST training kitchen in Huntingdon.
Her busy role also involves menu planning and recipe testing; in addition she provides valuable input at most CCS working groups.
She has played an active role in boosting the school meal uptake figures in Cambridgeshire in recent years.
In addition to her work with CCS, Mary has worked at many different catering establishments in Peterborough in the evenings and at weekends. She has also taught food safety at Peterborough City College Saturday school.
Mary has two children and four grandchildren and when not working likes to spend most of her time in their company or looking after her allotment.