In western Hérault, canteen chefs are resisting

In western Hérault, canteen chefs are resisting

Chef Bruno Cavaillès behind the cafeteria of the Jean-Moulin-Jean-Bène school complex, in Pézenas. – F.False

Are your children enjoying the canteen?? While in Western Hérault, eight colleges still have their own head, the rest of the department is ;nbsp;often delivered by central kitchens.


On the menu this Thursday in the Jean-Moulin-Jean-Bène school campus in Pézenas: cordon bleu, a canteen classic for which the students are rushing; cod fillet in sauce; and above all a wine stew, cooked on site, with Aubrac beef and fresh mushrooms… "It’is the kind of dish that the’ rsquo;we can do here, modestly explains chef Bruno Cavaillès, who in another life was a caterer in Montagnac. Like this fish with sauce and lemon zest, cuttlefish a la plancha, curries, homemade pizzas…"

Nearly 60% of Hérault college students eat in their establishment, and to prepare these more than 3.5 million meals per year, the Department has long relied on kitchens power stations. There are 5 of them, located in Agde, Fabrègues, Lansargues, Puisserguier and Saint-Clément-de-Rivière, each of which serves up to around fifteen colleges where you simply heat up the dishes. 13 establishments, however, continue to make their own purchases, and their own menus: this is the case of three colleges in Montpellier, that of Ganges, Poussan, and eight others, all located in Biterrois and Western Hérault.

In Pézenas, where 1,400 meals are served every day, Bruno Cavaillès begins the visit with the stores and cold rooms. In the vegetable shop, potatoes for mash are stored alongside crates of asparagus brought by a producer from Montagnac: "I serve the heads as a starter, and I cut the rest into pieces to mix it with wheat for example". All the meat is purchased via Agrilocal, a platform that connects communities with producers. "The beef comes from Aubrac, and the poultry are labeled ", specifies the chef. A unique case in the department, it also has a butcher's shop to cut up the carcasses: "It’is more economical, and that allows you to keep the bones for stocks and broths.

Bruno Cavaillès, distinguished by the prize for best national buyer at Agrilocal, devotes half of his time to the choice of suppliers and “paperwork”. For the rest, it's kitchen, with a production team of twelve people who are busy from 5:30 a.m., because "it’it’it’is not only the product that makes us enjoy the plate’. And if a dish with sauce remains open at the end of the service, a cooling cell allows it to be kept for another day: "In production , we don't throw anything away, we even make breadcrumbs with the dry bread."

Closer to the students

Having a real kitchen at the college also makes it possible to do educational projects with students and teachers, and to integrate the canteen into the life of the establishment. À Murviel, the SVT classes worked on on chocolate and a meal on the theme of the Occupation will be organized. à on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Landing. À Pézenas are cooking workshops and product tastings. Damien, a &eco-delegateé aged 17, also exposed, in agreement with the service team, all the unconsumed bread. so that the students become aware of the waste: “This still represented 48 loaves over a week, or a monthly loss of 190 euros."

Be careful, central cuisine does not mean lower quality. In all colleges, the Department has implemented a High Food Quality approach which guarantees the quality of products and nutritional balance. Whether central or autonomous, all kitchens, too, are constrained by their budget. "At the end of last year, we have had to reduce organic because prices had increased, recalls Bruno Cavaillès. We had risen to 2.70 euros of raw materials for each meal, compared to 2, 40 today. "Like central kitchens, we are subject to the Egalim law which imposes 20  organic and 50  labeled products", adds Emmanuel Karmazyn from his college in Murviel-les-Béziers, who with all his colleagues also took note of the Department's desire to increase control over their work (see opposite).

In any case, the students of Pézenas are overall very satisfied with their meals: "When it  rsquo;is reheated, that's for sure, it doesn't have the same flavor, especially chopped steaks", specifies one of them them. Department employees also have their napkin rings in the canteen, and exchange the best addresses: "Pézenas, Murviel, Saint-Chinian… We know where to go",smiles one of them. Last sign that does not deceive: the plates come back empty, or almost. For each meal, in Jean-Bène, 36 grams of uneaten food ends up in the trash…hellip; At the national level, the average is between 75 and 100 grams.

The establishments in western Hérault which do not depend on central kitchens are in Bédarieux, Cessenon, Olargues, Olonzac, Pézenas, Saint-Chinian, Saint-Gervais-sur-Mare, Saint-Pons-de-Thomières.

Questions for Renaud Calvat, vice-president of the Department responsible for education and colleges

Parents of students often prefer independent canteens, with their own chef, is this justified?  ?

No, because it corresponds to  & a dated image of central kitchens, subcontracted to private multinationals. In the Hérault, this is no longer the case at all. You do not have an industrial kitchen that makes 20,000 meals for everyone, but five culinary production units (UPC) which are as close as possible to the colleges, with cooks from the Departmental Council.

What is the advantage?

Our strike force. We buy 7 million euros worth of food per year, for around thirty batches. This allows you to have good prices, but also to deal with small producers. Our fish, for example, comes from the Crie d’Agde. I have teams who only do that: find the right producer. And today 60 % of our food comes from sourced, organic, or labeled agriculture.

And this is not the case in self-contained kitchens?

They are autonomous, and we cannot know their level d&amp ;rsquo;requirement. I'm not saying that the food is bad there, but the manager who finds himself alone facing the suppliers does not We don't have our negotiation skills. Afterwards, un mountain college à Olargues is not managed like any other in the city. If it takes 1 hour 30 minutes to bring the meals, that's not good either. We are not dogmatic, but we do not want there to be college students treated less well than others. We are currently thinking about what to expect. a means that would allow us to demand quality from our products. of products at least equivalent to the one found in UPCs.

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