Diversity and inclusion

Disability: one day immersion in a kitchen

Duo Day
Benjamin and Manuel, who are both disabled, participated in the 2021 Duo Day event with Elior. For one day, both of them joined an Elior team to discover the catering professions available in a conventional company.

Benjamin is 33 years old and works in the central kitchen of the association of parents and friends of people with intellectual disabilities (Adapei) in the department of Ile et Vilaine, in a protected environment adapted to his disability. This was the first time he has participated in Duo Day. The principle of this initiative is to form 2-person teams comprising a disabled person and a voluntary professional, who helps their disabled partner discover their profession. For Benjamin, "working in an ordinary environment is great, we are more independent". This is the whole point of Duo Day; to enable disabled people discover what it’s like working in an ordinary working environment as opposed to in the protected environment of work-assistance establishments (ESAT - Etablissements et Services d’Aides par le Travail).

Working in an ordinary environment is great, we are more independent

Benjamin worked for one day with Frédéric, an Elior chef in a B&I restaurant near Rennes, cooking meat, preparing vegetables, and washing dishes, etc.  "The day went very smoothly, it was a really pleasant surprise! », said Frédéric. With his team of six, Frederic cooks nearly 300 meals every day for Banque Populaire Grand Ouest employees. “We began by asking Benjamin what he wanted to cook and discover; the idea being to make him feel part of the team and participate as he saw fit, without rushing him.” Benjamin wanted to start by preparing the main course, a blanquette. He took care of the cooking and the seasoning, as well as transferring the vegetables into the hot ovens, etc. Under Frédéric's compassionate guidance, Benjamin learnt several things, such as the safety rules for cutting lemons, and was thus able to take an active part in preparing the meal. "Benjamin was very motivated; he asked questions, he wanted to learn. I was really impressed," stressed Frédéric.

" The next step for Benjamin is to envisage doing a longer internship with Elior," explained Cédric, Elior sector manager for the west of France region. Cédric prepared this Duo Day event in advance with the educator and the Adapei, notably by locating places in advance "to ensure that Benjamin's work environment was well structured and to avoid the risk of any excessive emotional shock". Highly sensitive to the integration of disabled workers, Cédric has formed six DUO pairs in the restaurants in the region he manages. His next goal is to accompany Benjamin towards working for a conventional company. "This day passed too quickly, I can’t wait to come back ", stressed Benjamin. For him, integration into a conventional workplace means greater autonomy. “There are less monitors on our backs,” he said, jokingly.


Valérie and Manuel formed Elior’s second DUO pair. Manuel is a disabled worker looking for a job as a dishwasher, and Valérie is in charge of the restaurants on a large campus in the south of Paris region.  Valérie leads a team of 80 people who cook nearly 2,000 meals a day, and is used to welcoming apprentices or trainees with disabilities. “My teams are caring and facilitate the integration of newcomers,” stressed Valérie. Manuel clearly felt the same. “I received a very warm welcome,” he said “the atmosphere was great ". Manuel worked at the campus brasserie, as part of a team of four, peeling vegetables, and helping with the dish-washing chores. "He's a very nice person, very curious, and at ease in a small team.” For Valérie, this day makes it possible “to mix teams in the kitchen and give everyone a chance".

I received a very warm welcome,” he said “the atmosphere was great.

On November 18, Elior formed nearly 35 DUO teams across France: a successful initiative to raise awareness to, and above all standardize the issue of disability in the workplace.


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