"Vegetarian cooking is neither boring nor limited"
"My job is to create new recipes for children's meals, by carefully selecting the products." In Serunion’s offices in Madrid, chef Alfonso Sanchez coordinates the creation of recipes for all of Serunion’s 760 school canteens in Spain. He notably followed a training program in vegetarian cuisine which involved learning the different basic ingredients of plant-based cuisine and how to cook them. “We were accompanied by chefs specialized in plant-based cuisine.”
In particular, we created a recipe for red wine seitan stew: a traditional Spanish dish which we revisited by adding an Asian touch!
Alfonso Sanchez together with a group of seven other chefs completed this training program where they reworked many well-known Spanish and international dishes for children, B&I employees and the elderly. “The first thing I learned from the program was that vegetarian recipes are neither boring nor limited.” For each recipe, the challenge was always to incorporate more vegetables or substitute meat with vegetable proteins, such as soy or seitan. Originally from China, seitan is a product that is very rich in protein. It is usually made from wheat, spelt or gluten flour, which is often used to replace meat and fish in vegan cuisine. “In particular, we created a recipe for red wine seitan stew: a traditional Spanish dish which we revisited by adding an Asian touch! “.
Alfonso now puts these new skills to creating recipes for his young guests. “I notably created a recipe for Vichyssoise consisting of pear and broccoli, accompanied by a rye bread and almond crumble”. For this vichyssoise, the chef simmers some chopped onions, potatoes and leeks with the pear skins, before adding milk and mixing it. The children really like the soup’s smooth and creamy texture, accompanied by the crispy crumble. “I also devised a recipe for vegetarian tacos with spicy tomato sauce. For all these recipes, I think about the right amount of vegetable protein, while making sure that it is appreciated by the children.”