Title Vegucation - Training of European competency in sustainable, healthy and well-balanced nutrition for professional chefs and caterers
Project Number 527879-LLP-1-2012-1-DE-LEONARDO-LMP
Project Type Development of Innovation
Country EU-Centralised Projects
In order to meet professional challenges in the field of plant-based cuisine and aiming to improve competitiveness in catering, Vegucation creates sustainable structures by the institutionalisation of a standardized curriculum and teaching materials in vocational schools.
This project aims to:
- develop a transnational vocational training concept including the curriculum for a 100-lessons-module in plant-based cookery
- create teaching material in multiple language versions vegetarian cuisine for the use in VET schools
- develop innovative ICT and multimedia contents
- provide vocational teachers of gastronomy with technical and methodological competencies
- take measures of certification and commercialization of the training and
- spread the pilot throughout the national and European vocational training system.
Vegucation promotes training of chefs and caterers in sustainable, healthy and plant-based nutrition and consists of several components.
Central is the production and dissemination of a 100-hour-curriculum and training material (handbooks), translated into five languages (German, Dutch, French, English and Czech) and enriched by modern multimedia content (3D-animated movies, e-learning modules, cooking videos, etc.). For this purpose in each of the four partner countries respectively one non-profit-organisation and four vocational schools cooperate.
Plant-based cuisine in Europe is currently experiencing an unprecedented growth trend. Customers are demanding healthier, more sustainable and meat-reduced menus. Vegetarianism has been booming like no other market. 1 out of 2 guests prefer plant-based options. Alongside the growing number of vegetarians, customers expect vegetarian offers to have the same high standards as the other dishes on the menu. Unfortunately, in classic cookery courses little attention is given to creative, sophisticated and sustainable vegetarian cuisine. In addition, several diet-related diseases can be prevented by a healthy, meatless diet. Plant-based foods suit a lot of people with food allergies, food intolerances and other special dietary requirements.
Vegucation reacts to the urgent demand for a Europe-wide gastronomical VET specialising in the area of plant-based cookery. As a representative example for European market development the situation in Germany is traced: According to the current analysis of the major trade journal for caterers, the “GV Praxis”, customers are demanding healthier, more sustainable food. “GV Praxis” published the top 3 of the most popular upward climbers in the food area in one of their issues (7-8/2011): 1) salad (75%), 2) fresh herbs (73%) and 3) vegetables (71%). Among the dishes the most popular were: 1) Salad as a main dish, 2.) Vegetarian dishes and 3) Wok dishes (which are traditionally vegetarian). Another survey dating back to the issue 7-8/2010 confirms that over 60% of the polled chefs had noticed an increased demand for vegetarian dishes within the last 12 months. A survey made by the trade journal “Küche” (edition 01/2010) states that “vegetarian cuisine” received an increase of demand by 52 points and “meat-based cuisine” lost 12 points.
In addition to customer demands, sustainability standards have become a major component within caterers' corporate social responsibility policy. Considering a food selection of low CO2-equivalents is a practical form of environmental protection. According to the “Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations” (FAO), livestock husbandry is accountable for at least 18 % of the man-made pollution causing the greenhouse effect (in comparison: traffic holds 16 %). The project enhances the cooking staff’s competence in terms of sustainability.
Also the vast majority of the European population have unhealthy eating habits. According to scientific studies, e.g. the “China Study” of the Cornell University, long-term studies of the German Cancer Research Centre and the American Dietetic Association several diet-related diseases, like cardiovascular disease, adipose, diabetes, gout and certain kinds of cancer could be prevented with a healthy, meat-reduced nutrition. In the White Paper “Nutrition, Obesity, Adiposity: A Strategy for Europe” the EU commission observes that the amount of overweight and obese children approximates 30% in 2007. Nutritional competence, as passed on to chefs through EuroVeg, can help to implement a balanced and tasty choice of food in Europe’s canteens.
Health-related and ecological aspects as European concerns are also reflected in changing dietary habits, having led to the sector of healthy, sustainable, meat-reduced cuisine booming throughout the EU. Innovation pressure from gaps in gastronomical VET is common to all partner countries. At the same time, caterers and chefs have not been prepared for their customers new needs during their initial or continuing VET. The traditional VET and exam in Europe does not consider the know-how and the skills of a sustainable and balanced cuisine low in animal products. Nationally and internationally standardised content or official quality standards are missing. Therefore chefs often do not have the competence to actively prepare and appropriately promote attractive vegetarian meals in order to meet their customers’ new demand. Related skills are one important ingredient when starting new small businesses or for getting a new job opportunity in the field. Therefore regional chambers and social partners are highly interested in an additional qualification to become a vegetarian chef.
The consortium, consisting of 4 vegetarian associations and 4 schools in Europe, decided to meet this demand by improving VET and enabling learners to
-an accomplished expertise in the requirements of modern, sustainable, meat-reduced cuisine
-founded background knowledge on health, climate, environment, organic produce, fair trade and
other sustainability issues
-improved ICT capabilities and an action-oriented learning and working style (students) and the skills to mediate them (teachers)
-advanced communication skills to promote a more healthy and sustainable food selection to the customers
-developed matching between skills and labour market needs and consequently improved job prospects
Whereas VET to become a chef in Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria does not foresee the preparation of vegetable foods in the curriculum nor the opportunity to further education in this field, Germany's three-year VET includes 60 lessons on dishes made from raw vegetable material. However, in the past 13 years these lessons have not been updated, thus the preparation of a complete main dish or cooking a contemporary vegetarian dish is not part of the training.
Utilization and distribution of results
Recognition, transparency, certification
Open and distance learning
Human Health and Social Work Activities
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
open and distance learning
program or curricula
procedure for the analysis and prognosis of the vocational training requirement
transparency and certification
Production of a modularised, target oriented frame curriculum for the well-balanced whole-food cuisine as well as the convenience product range to an extent of 100 hours for the use in vocational schools.
Teacher and Student Handbook:
The student and teacher handbook give background information on the current product range and suppliers and is a preparatory guide for professional customer counselling. In this regard, a practice-oriented approach is fostered. The 150 page student handbook is divided into learning fields. Main emphasis is put on the interdisciplinary dimensions of environmental and health aspects of nutrition. Informative images and ICT
elements facilitate learning. New forms of organisation and production used in gastronomy is considered. The teacher handbook gives more detailed background information on the student version. It contains proposals for teaching methods and lesson designs as well as the solutions to the assignments presented in the work sheets.
ICT elements to be integrated into classroom situations allow the students the acquisition or necessary ICT skills and even provide the VET institutions within and outside the consortium with opportunity to use ICT elements in isolation for individual application. ICT elements are openly accessible during project runtime on the project's web portal and only after the projects runtime become part of the commercialized training. It contains
-six cook videos in two language versions
-six 3D-animated movies on environment and health aspects
-twelve e-learning modules in five language versions
-two learning videos with experts on health and environmental aspects of nutrition
-a climate calculator for analysing recipes
EQF certification manual:
ECVET based evaluation/certification methodology is compiled in a 15-page manual
-a promotional video
-20.000 project brochures in five language versions,
-an exhibition set of poster, roll-up, 8-page brochure and banner for participation in conferences and fairs
To ensure smooth processes and operations, the internet is to be used by EuroVeg as an
instrument of internal communication technology. It can be used for communication, as a repository and as a means of dissemination of information and contents in Dutch, German and English. The instrument is divided into a freely accessible area and one with limited access.
Pilot courses in Belgium and Germany:
provides a training course to 60 gastronomical VET teachers in four different countries
provides four pilot courses to students of VET institutions in initial VET and preparatory VET with 200 students being reached and using the material, 60% of them achieving good or very good results
provides two pilot courses to accomplished chefs as continuing VET with 56 accomplished chefs being trained and using the material, 60% of them achieving good or very good results
issues through the European Association of Hotel and Gastronomy Schools (AEHT) a starter kit with introduction of the pilots, the research report, promotional material and invitations to the project to 430 vocational schools representing 44 European countries and to the EVU's 49 member NGOs in 30 European countries