Locally-grown products and home-cooking for Toulouse Agricultural High School students
For the past four years, Elior-canteen manager, Pascaline Dubezin, has been promoting a dynamic, new approach in the kitchens of the Toulouse Agricultural High School by supplying locally-grown products and home cooking. “Our teams invest a lot in cooking fresh and local products. While it’s more time-consuming to peel and grate smaller local carrots, they taste a thousand times better!”, explained Pascaline. Similarly, locally-sourced pears and apples may look less appetizing but they have more taste. In the canteen kitchen, fresh vegetables and fruit are delivered to the vegetable processing area where they are prepared. “We invite the students two to three times a year into our kitchens so that they can discover the work of our cooks”. Communication with guests is key to showcase the work carried out in the kitchen and to promote our regional products. “They can see that our carrots and celery remoulade are not served in industrial containers”.
27% of the products served in this restaurant are sourced locally. Elior has forged partnerships with local producers and retailers in the Toulouse region: Toulouse sausage from Maison Garcia, poultry from a Gers farm, and fresh meat from Maison Bousquet, etc. Some products are grown on the campus itself. The students cultivate pulses, such as chickpeas, lentils, and spelt, etc. and also harvest honey. Elior’s kitchen teams use these products to prepare the students’ meals. “It is very interesting to cook with produce grown on the school farm; produce that we can promote in the dishes we serve”. And these products are very popular with students. The results of the guest satisfaction survey have improved greatly since the products have been carefully selected.
This commitment was rewarded by obtaining the Ecocert label at the end of 2021. “This represents the accomplishment of the commitment we have upheld for four years”, summarized Pascaline. "It's very rewarding for our teams, who cook quality produce for high-school students, as well as the students and adults on campus," she stressed. In conjunction with her client, she is committed to increasing the proportion of locally-sourced, labeled products in her kitchen. Every year, her team’s work is audited so as to measure Elior's commitment regarding the percentage of organic products, home cooking and actions carried out to combat food waste. "It's more work, but our reward is being able to offer good quality cuisine."