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Not so much a school refectory as a school ‘restaurant’

There are still obstacles to local sourcing for collective catering establishments, in spite of a positive trend. Some of the stumbling blocks are practical issues: cost, quantities available locally, logistical problems, complex local authority contracts, etc. But food also reflects a vision of our society and the changes we would like to see for it. The obstacles to buying quality local food are a result of the different views of society that exist.

We sometimes refer to the ‘mayor-cook’ as a success factor for increasing local sourcing for a refectory. A motivated cook may have to work with a limited budget, untrained staff and kitchen equipment that’s unsuitable for preparing raw ingredients, in the same way that a mayor may come up against the municipal council. The local people are also players in this situation, as either students, parents or senior citizens.

In Hillion, a town of 4,097 inhabitants in Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany, the mayor and the school head cook have succeeded in increasing the proportion of quality local products used in collective catering since 2014. The mayor and the head cook share the same objectives. The changes were introduced to increase the proportion of fresh ingredients, and therefore the purchase of produce, which involved the recruitment of an agent. There have never been any objections to the increased budget. The town now plans to develop a municipal vegetable garden. From a logistical point of view, adaptation is required by means of rationalising orders and having sufficient covers to generate a profitable market and optimise deliveries.

In terms of the project overall, incorporating quality local products could not have been done without some fundamental work on portioning, observation of wastage and favouring home-made dishes, desserts in particular. The lunch break has become an opportunity to teach the children the history of meals and origin of products, for a new menu to be drawn up each month by the children themselves, and for an extra member of staff to be recruited to supervise mealtimes.

Hillion

Côtes d’Armor

France

 

 

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