Skills development

Training to provide a vegetarian cuisine suitable for children

In its central kitchens, Elior trains cooks and dietitians in vegetarian cuisine. Their challenge is not only to perfect their culinary techniques, but also to review the basics of balanced and vegetarian recipes for children.

Elior’s new training course for its central kitchen teams comprises a theoretical course on vegetarian food and its application with six recipes. “The objective is to understand the principles of balanced vegetarian cuisine suitable for children,” explains Laurence Ladet, training project manager at Elior. The cooks are made aware, in particular, of the measurements, to ensure vegetarian cuisine with high quality protein intake. "Each plate must respect the ratio of two-thirds cereals, one-third pulses", continues Laurence. Two other important aspects are cooking techniques and seasonings, which must pay attention to the taste of the food, knowing that after the dishes are cooked in the central kitchen, they will be cooled and then reheated in the schools. “In this way, we make sure that vegetarian dishes are appreciated by our young diners”.

In this way, we make sure that vegetarian dishes are appreciated by our young diners

For Julien Bonneau, sous chef at the Rueil Malmaison central kitchen, “this training was very instructive”. With a team of 25 people, Julien cooks 15,000 meals a day for children and the elderly. “I already knew the basics of vegetarian cooking. The theoretical training reminded me of the Egalim Law (promoting healthier and more sustainable food)  and the benefit for children of having one vegetarian meal per week in the canteen”. The training also gives the keys for enhancing the taste of vegetarian dishes, thanks to the addition of herbs, such as basil or parsley.

This training was very instructive

“An appealing presentation with attractive colors is also essential. A succulent tomato sauce gives a nice color to a dish and makes children want it”, concludes Julien, who produces his vegetarian recipes in a different way from his meat dishes.
Also taking part in this training was Jénaëlle Obertan. A dietitian at the central kitchen in Fresnes in the Paris region she is in charge of drawing up menus. Liaising with schools and parents at menu boards, she explains about balanced diet and answers questions. “The basics passed under review during this training course are helping me to educate parents, to reassure them about the balance of a vegetarian recipe. The child, for example, has the impression that there is nothing to eat on the plate when there is no meat. It is my role to explain the protein intake through cereals and pulses, such as lentils or rice". Jénaëlle Obertan explains how meat is replaced: with kidney beans and rice in a vegetarian chili, for example, or with chickpeas and semolina in couscous. And these dishes make up a balanced diet.


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