A new initiative trains institutional cooks to focus on plant-based cooking, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Spotted: Plant-based diets are becoming more popular, as people move to vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian options out of concern for their health, and the health of the planet. So, it makes sense that professional cooks should be trained to prepare meat-free food too. This is also what the Humane Society International (HSI) thought. They have just launched a virtual culinary training programme called Forward Food that focuses on plant-based cooking.
Forward Food is aimed at cooks in large scale catering operations and industrial kitchens. It teaches new ways to develop inspiring plant-based dishes, equipping cooks with, “the knowledge, skills and inspiration they need to develop delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes”. The new workshop is made up of four, video-based “toolkits” that each explore a different aspect of plant-based cooking: umami, texture, pulses and grains and seeds.
As part of the programme, HSI/UK also calculate how much each institution reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by shifting away from meat and dairy. In addition, they offer advice on menu presentation, sustainability analysis, information on sourcing plant-based products and a portfolio of plant-based recipes, which can be tailored to specific dining establishment needs.
One goal of HIS’s programme is to encourage other culinary institutions to follow suit. An HIS spokesperson says that, “The [mainstream culinary] curriculum is still largely based around the preparation of meat and fish as the hero of the dish and vegetables being an accompaniment… However, with programmes like Forward Food highlighting the potential of vegetables as a main … we believe schools will have no choice but to adapt their curriculum to the changing culinary environment.”
The move away from animal products is accelerating, as more people realise the real costs of eating so much meat and dairy. At Springwise, we have followed the way that this trend has created new markets and interest in everything from vegan footwear to lab-grown meat and dairy-free cheese.