KAREN McLaughlin from Coleraine has picked up a prestigious Caterer of the Year award.
Karen, Deputy Community Catering Services Manager with the Northern Trust, was presented with the prize at a glittering ceremony at the Hospital Caterers Association conference in Wokefield Park, Reading.
Up against stiff competition, Karen took the award from a number of hopeful entrants across the UK.
Karen, originally from Ballymoney, began her career as Assistant Cook at the Robinson Hospital almost 22 years ago.
In 1999 she moved to Coleraine Hospital where she became involved in the planning and development of catering services for the new Causeway Hospital, opened in 2001.
She took up her present post in 2008 and is responsible for more than 52 Trust community facilities. Karen is no stranger to awards, having been a member of the team who picked up a Customer Service Excellence award last year for the quality of Catering Services in the Northern Trust.
Food safety and hygiene are critical to the work that Karen is currently involved with, and it was this that clinched the Caterer of the Year Award last month. Karen has worked to promote and implement a high standard of food safety in practice and has achieved high ratings in the Food Standards Agency (FSA) “Scores on the Doors” scheme for the systems she has in place.
Karen is a keen athlete and is current Lady Captain of the Springwell Runners in Coleraine. She has completed both the Belfast and Dublin marathons and is planning to run in the Dervock marathon in July; she also arranges fitness sessions for work colleagues.
With characteristic modesty, she expressed her delight at receiving the award, saying: “It’s great! I love what I do and it is very uplifting to be rewarded for doing your job. I want to pay tribute to a great team. This award rightly belongs to all of them. Well done, everyone.”