for Chefs and Executive Chefs of Large-Scale Kitchens
in Sustainable Food and Kitchen Management
In the project ReKuK, a training is developed for chefs (colloq. cooks) and executive chefs (colloq. kitchen managers) of large-scale kitchens in Waste Prevention, Energy Efficiency, Foods Use, Menu Design, and Marketing and Information. This vocational training presents the latest state of the art in terms of contents and is not available yet in the project countries Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.
The training is designed for 5 sessions for each module and includes a script, lecture slides and a training folder (a collection of the script, slides, worksheets and practical examples) as well as a handbook with additional information and examples for self-learning. The central issue in the 5 training sessions is resource efficiency in large-scale kitchens, divided into foods use, menu design, waste prevention, energy efficiency and marketing & information activities. The goal is to provide the trainees with the knowledge, competences and skills needed for the assessment of the situation of their own large-scale kitchen and the means towards its more resource-efficient opperation. Each module consists of 3 units of a lecture and a short discussion and of one concluding practical unit.
In a first step, the training materials (script, slide set, handbook, training folder) are drafted. The training materials and the training workshop design are discussed in a wide group of stakeholders/experts on national level in each project country. Then the training is tested in 5 workshops in each country. With the feedback, the training material and workshop design is finalised.
The project is implemented by the Ressourcen Management Agentur (Austria), the Jihočeská Univerzita (Czech Republic), Thüringer Ökoherz (Germany) and Associazione Italiana per l‘Agricoltura Biologica (Italy).
An average large-scale kitchen has an annual turnover of food products amounting to ca. 320,000 kg (1,000 meals daily). During growth, trade, transportation and processing, the food production consumes significant resources. Also, a large-scale kitchen consumes energy equal to 360 private households. By promoting the integration of resource efficiency in the kitchen routine, its team will, first, provide a valuable contribution to environmental and climate protection and to very substantial cost savings. Second, the target group (executive chefs and chefs) will receive a tailored training adjusted to needs born from the ever-increasing requirements in their professional field entailed by the more demanding social, environmental or economic policy on EU and national level in the transition to the “circular economy”.
Chefs and executive chefs in public large-scale kitchens work under steadily increasing cost pressure. The share of convenience products is thus alarmingly increasing, as it is often believed that they are means towards cost-efficiency. The training developed within this project responds to the need for providing good food quality at lower costs and higher resource efficiency. While Menu & Food Science, Product Science, Nutrition Science, Kitchen Management, Hygiene of Foodstuffs are fixed components of the training of chefs and executive chefs, the ecological and qualitative aspects are paid only minor attention. The use of organic, regional and seasonal fresh products, a sound purchasing policy and carefully menu planning, waste reduction and energy efficiency substantially reduce both the running costs and the employed natural resources by improved food quality.
The target group is accomplished chefs and executive chefs and decision-makers for large-scale kitchens, as they dispose of basic professional knowledge and as they are in the best position to initiate changes.
The project aims at shaping a vocational training for chefs and executive chefs of large-scale kitchens, which is either hardly attainable for them in the daily routine, or not available at all in the project countries. The goal is thus to improve and extend their basic training by 5 further modules (Waste Prevention, Energy Efficiency, Foods Use, Menu Design, and Marketing and Information) and so to enable professional decisions towards resource efficiency in the large-scale kitchens. This way, the principle of “lifelong learning” represents a key element of the project. A further positive effect is the better positioning of the addressed target group in their current or prospective employment.
The first Intellectual Output are the training materials (slide set with integrated exercises, detailed script supporting an in-depth study of the modules, training folder containing script, slides, best-practice examples and worksheets, handbook for self-study) drafted by all partners and consulted upon with national stakeholders. The materials are also adapted to the national specifics (e.g. consideration of the seasonality of the products and the regional conditions).
The second Intellectual Output is the training workshop design. A training consists of 4 learning units per module, of 60 minutes each. The first 3 units are split into a 45-minute lecture and a 15-minute discussion. The 4th unit serves the working out of practice-related exercises together with the lecturer. A short instruction session helps the participants to fill in the training folder. To test the training materials and structure, 5 workshops are foreseen with at least 5 participants per country and module. After the test trainings, the workshop design is finalised and ready for implementation.
The knowledge acquired by the participants encompasses the theoretical basis and successful approaches in the 5 thematic areas: Foods Use, Menu Design, Waste Prevention, Energy Efficiency, Marketing and Information.
The competence acquired includes theory and practical tools for the implementation of measures in each of the 5 thematic areas towards a resource– and cost-efficient kitchen.
The skills acquired include: ability to analyse the running of the own kitchen, ability to design seasonal menus, ability to motivate the kitchen staff for innovative action, skills to implement resource-efficient measures.
A participant can acquire a training certificate by filling in at least 2 modules of the training folder and discussing them with the training team.
In the partner countries Germany, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic, common negative trends are detected in large-scale kitchens: high energy consumption, high organic waste generation, intensive use of convenience products, etc. An optimisation demand exists in the area of foods use, menu design, waste prevention and energy efficiency. Another trend is the centralising of the large-scale kitchens, which inevitably leads to job losses. Thus the initiative has been grasped to offer together a joint solution for the problems said. The training course will also undergo the procedure for NQR/EQR level allocation in each country.