James Keen

Head Chef

I have been working as head chef at Our Lady’s Convent School since June 2012. Previously, I held a wide range of posts over a career stretching back to the 1980s. These included: being a relief chef manager for a large catering organisation (now known as Sodexo); being sole chef in a 120 seat grill restaurant; running my own vegetarian – and vegan! – café/restaurant in Loughborough; and providing meals in an Abbeyfield Care Home. I have spent a lot of time in the education sector, from state schools, through sixth form colleges, to the Halls of Loughborough University.

"At larger events we are fortunate to be able to call on assistance from the catering teams at the other Endowed Schools."
James Keen, Head Chef, Our Lady's Convent School

By their nature, professional kitchens are not the most glamorous of surroundings in which to work, necessarily so in order to ensure that large amounts of food can be produced in a safe and timely way. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to roll up in the morning and take in Pugin’s architecture. If it is a bright day and the sun is up – for I start very early – I can enjoy the brick patterns and mullioned windows before preparing breakfast.

Apart from serving the students and staff of the School on a daily basis, our small but skilful and dedicated catering team prepares meals for a multiplicity of other events: hog roasts, reunion parties, weddings, balls, Prize-giving, even military dinners. At larger events we are fortunate to be able to call on assistance from the catering teams at the other Endowed Schools. We will serve up to two hundred people at a time, and the main headache is getting all the cutlery and crockery to the right part of the campus. That, and washing up 600 glasses without breaking too many….

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