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Ely College

Ely College

INSIGHT: New Catering at Ely College

You've heard the news and seen the sample menu but let's take a closer look at the new catering partnerships between Ely College and Pabulum...


Students at Ely College are set to enjoy plenty of fresh food and a whole new dining experience when they head back in September, this is thanks to a new deal with education caterer Pabulum. Pabulum is the catering partner for Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT), which Ely College joined in July.

Pabulum, which caters for a number of schools in the Cambridgeshire region, is known as a company for its commitment to using fresh food. The caterer is also passionate about the provenance and quality of the ingredients in its meals and has a 19% food spend on organic food. All of the meat used in Pabulum’s school meals is British and meets the Red Tractor Assurance Certification and the Soil Association Food For Life standards. In addition to this, 94% is freshly produced in the College kitchen and 75% of the raw ingredients used are locally sourced from the UK.

The new contract with Ely College will commence in September and will see Pabulum making a significant cash investment into the catering facility at the college. This includes a brand new ‘Food Cube’ for the college’s newly constructed communal area. Pabulum’s ‘Food Cubes’ are state of the art external food outlets and provide an extra destination point from which to serve. This helps to reduce queues in the main restaurant and to meet the increasing needs of students who want a healthy fresh lunch but also want to attend Clubs and other Societies in the break/lunch time period. Pabulum will be rebranding and refurbishing the main restaurant to include a new express lane. In 2017 Pabulum will also launch its successful coffee shop at the college too. Known as ‘I Love Coffee’, it is an offer that is comparable to a high street coffee shop for the 6th Form and features a milder-flavoured coffee that’s popular with young people.

Currently 30% of students at Ely College use the catering facility, come September Pabulum will start working to gradually bring this figure more in line with the 70% uptake figure it has achieved with the other CMAT schools. As part of this mission Pabulum has been spending time listening to staff and students and even forming a student focus group to gather feedback and opinions.

Nelson Williams, Managing Director from Pabulum commented:

"We’re delighted to be working with Ely College, this new contract combines what I see as our two key differentiators, we are a fresh food company without compromise and strong commercial partners. I am particularly delighted that our long term relationship with the CMAT Trust allows us to support them with new additional schools and colleges to provide the students with that all important healthy nutritious meal in an exciting dining environment"

He continued: "The whole team is looking forward to welcoming Ely college’s 1103 students to their new dining experience in September. Here at Pabulum we are committed to working with schools and colleges who share our vision when it comes to food and the health and wellbeing of young people. We want to create a fresh food culture within schools, that’s why all our meals are produced on site, from scratch, using fresh, nutritionally balanced ingredients. This is something we hope will help inspire a lifelong love of fresh food in young people."

Pabulum’s recent staff conference. L-R: Mike Richardson (Sales and Marketing Director), Dave Wardle (Support Manager) and Dennis Baille (Development Chef) Dave and Dennis were winners of an award for food innovation; Dave and Dennis will be representing Pabulum to help mobilise the new contract at Ely.

Dr Ian McEwan, Chief Operating Officer for CMAT added:

"We look forward to working with Pabulum at Ely College just as we work together across all of our CMAT schools. Diet and eating habits play a key role in the school experience and we’re pleased to be working with a caterer whose visions and values match our own high standards."

Pabulum has a vision to be at the forefront of improving the next generation’s health and wellbeing, with a number of healthy-eating initiatives in place to achieve this. Currently the caterer has pledged to reduce granular white sugar uptake across its entire business by 50%. As part of this pledge, Pabulum’s team of development chefs have worked hard to make use of natural sugars and create a range of reduced sugar recipes.

To find out more about Pabulum’s approach to fresh food and commitment to health and wellbeing, visit