Love Food, Reduce Waste: Life Foster Goes on in Top Gear

COVID brought the world on its knees and put everything on hold. However, it did not prevent Life Foster ( partners from going on serving their trainees and sticking to their training schedule. 

From March to date, tens of thousands of trainees switched from physical classrooms to online courses, rapidly adapting their habits not to lose pace with their learning objectives. For ENAIP, AFPA and the other project partners, it was a real test of innovativeness and creativity: how could they train chefs to-be by sharing a screen instead of a kitchen? What fresh start could they pointed at to prospective caterers at times when their dreams’ job is so hardly hit? 

AFPA and ENAIP trainers went the extra mile to provide ingenious solutions to these challenges. Trainers moved online and launched courses from their private kitchen to show the tricks of reducing kitchen’s scraps and changing wasteful eating habits without skimping on taste and flavour. 

During the months of strictest lockdown, ENAIP involved around forty professional chefs to kick off digitalised courses and allow hundreds of students to complete their apprenticeship on schedule. AFPA provided distance learning to more than 30.000 trainees, created free-access MOOCs on cuisine, patisserie and oenology, and devised a wide range of new training modules aimed at boosting inclusiveness and good spirits. Altaviana School in Valencia organised a training for trainers specifically addressing the problem of food waste within the restaurants and the hospitality sector. 

In times of lockdown and unprecedented home-cooking, ENAIP and its partners also seized the opportunity to raise the bar, gear up their no-waste campaign and extend their reach to the wider public. ENAIP co-organised a webinar session on food waste prevention and reduction with the Italian Federation of Chefs and the University of Gastronomic Science of Pollenzo. Experts from the industry and the EU institutions gathered to discuss effective strategies for food-waste avoidance and eco-friendly catering. Professor of Pollenzo University Silvio Barbero, President of the Italian Federation of Chefs Rocco Pozzullo and Life Foster project manager Barbara Archesso were among the speakers. 

Among the many challenges brought forward by the Covid upheaval, there was at least one important bright spot: the realisation that Life Foster is already bearing fruit and playing a ground-breaking role in the much-needed reflection on the political impact of eating habits. 

As pointed out by Veneto region responsible for training in catering, Giampietro Frescura: “During the lockdown and the following weeks, many families asked their youngster to shop online and….Well, the purchase behaviour of ‘fosterized’ students was impressive: no full carts, high attention to the expiration date of perishable goods, preference for food that could be used in multiple different dishes… it was a great success for us!

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 Luisa de Paula