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European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

Funding Call
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Culinary Competences for Sustainable Cooking (CulSus)

Grantee

Technical University of Berlin

Project partners

EPIZ e.V., Germany
Tallin School of Services, Estonia
Varna University of Management, Bulgaria

Duration

ongoing

2023-05-01 till 2025-04-30

Location

Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany

Funding Amount

460,000.00 €

Project background

Due to global challenges such as climate change and food security, a shift towards a more sustainable diet is imperative. To promote this dietary shift, the out-of-home consumption, e.g. in school and office canteens as well as restaurants, is a key sector. Thus, the education of future chefs and food professionals, their familiarity with plant-based alternatives to animal products and their know-how on vegetarian and vegan meal preparation, is crucial to promoting healthy, sustainable food and changing dietary habits.

This is even more important since meat substitutes and replacements for other animal products have become more and more available in wholesale and retail markets, and the production of meat alternatives is increasing continuously. Some of these alternatives, however, are not locally produced (e.g. coconut milk, some soy-based products, nuts like cashews and peanuts, different types of algae), highly processed and/or unknown to the consumers and chefs in terms of their cooking properties. So, providing chefs-in-training with background information and practical instructions on how to source, handle, and prepare these products in a way they appeal and taste good to costumers is the basis for more and more consumers trying and embracing sustainable food options when eating away from home.

There is no doubt that more openness towards sustainable food is urgently needed, as data from the three project countries shows: In Germany for example, still only 1.41 million people (approx. 1.9 percent of the population) state to be vegan, while 7.5 million people (approx. ten percent of the population) describe themselves as vegetarian. According to the Bulgarian Vegetarian Society, in 2018, the estimated total number of vegans and vegetarians in Bulgaria was approx. 300 000 people, which represents about 4,5 percent of the total population. And in 2019 in Estonia, six percent of the population were vegetarians and one percent vegans.

Increasing the availability and quality of vegan and vegetarian options in out-of-home dining is thus a crucial enabler for a broad-based shift toward sustainable nutrition. 
 

Project goals and measures

The project strives to equip future chefs and food professionals with the skills and knowledge to make more sustainable choices in their day-to-day work. To this end, it develops educational materials for the training of future chefs in Germany, Estonia and Bulgaria to educate them on the handling and preparation of vegetarian and vegan ingredients and dishes and on the sustainable sourcing of ingredients. 

The educational materials will be developed on the basis of expert interviews to identify topics and foods of special relevance to the implementing countries. They will promote the use of regional, sustainable food ingredients and include regional, country-specific dishes to specifically resonate with the target groups.
Regarding the format of the educational materials, there will be work books as well as video tutorials, which will be tested and optimized together with vocational students and apprentices. A participatory activity will also enable a direct (cultural as well as culinary) exchange between the students themselves. 

Finally, all of the educational materials produced will be made available as open educational resources and be disseminated to chefs and culinary educators throughout Europe with the help of key stakeholders and multipliers.