About the Founders

Alex Buchanan

Alex Buchanan

As editor of CateringScotland.com (CS) Alex Buchanan has over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality and events sectors. Acquiring Catering Scotland (CS) magazine with his former business partner as part of a management buyout in 2003, the duo established the CIS Excellence Awards the following year. After establishing CateringScotland.com as the industry’s go-to resource, they proceeded to grow the CIS Awards into the leading corporate awards programme for the Scottish catering, hospitality and tourism industries. ‘The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the role of foodservice in bringing people together in order to foster greater social interaction,’ he says. ‘Many schools across the country have responded to this concern by improving the school dining experience and the overall provision of services. Scotland has been a leading force for positive change and we are delighted to recognise the schools, staff and operators who have are proving to be leaders in both thought and action.’

Chris Sheppardson

With a career in recruitment and publishing spanning almost 30 years, Chris founded the Chess Group of Companies in 1998 and later launched EP Business in Hospitality magazine to provide a communications source for leaders in the hospitality industry. Inspired by a desire to get to know the people and characters behind the businesses, he now works closely with operators to support the growth and development of both people and organisations within the hospitality industry. Launching the Scottish School Food Awards with Alex Buchanan, he believes the link between substandard nutrition and poor mental health has become a central theme upon which more and more educational institutions and businesses are now focusing: ‘Schools and colleges are beginning to make the connection in terms of the important role that food and nutrition play in a child’s life and they are reinventing their offerings to encourage a healthier lifestyle,’ he says.

‘From good food and the promotion of positive mental health, to well-being initiatives and greater nutritional and cookery education, foodservice has never been more important and it’s clear that the education sector is starting to recognise the link between healthier lifestyles and the positive impact this can have on a child’s productivity at school.’