NUTRITIONAL EDUCATION must become explicitly embedded in catering colleges’ syllabuses. This was the overall conclusion to a Footprint Intelligence focus group held yesterday at Westminster Kingsway College.
Diet related illnesses are expected to have cost the NHS 15.8bn in 2015. With one in 6 meals eaten out of the home, chefs have a huge impact on the nation’s health. Yet awareness of nutrition is poor amongst chefs, who are typically taught to use salt, fats and sugars to create flavour.
The focus group concluded that this must be changed by embedding nutritional education throughout chef training. This would make nutrition an instinctive consideration in chefs’ recipe creation and menu planning.
The focus group comprised of Westminster Kingsway catering faculty heads, lecturers and catering students, chefs and dieticians, and Footprint’s own team.
The group agreed that the most effective way to improve chefs’ nutritional knowledge is to lobby the EU to incorporate it as a mandatory course requirement for catering courses. This would ensure colleges have the necessary time and money to cover the additional content requirements, as financial constraints currently mean that colleges have no budget to specifically allocate time to nutritional education.
The focus group was part of the research for a Footprint, Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or in association with PACE White Paper on improving nutrition education in catering colleges. The full white paper findings will be launched in spring at the PACE conference with further copies being distributed at the Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or Awards dinner.