We represented plant-based catering at the Public Catering Competition – May-October 2023

We represented plant-based catering at the Public Catering Competition – May-October 2023

In 2023, NÉGYOSZ contacted the National Association of Public Caterers and Food Service Managers (KÖZSZÖV) to initiate discussions on plant-based diets in the public catering sector. As is known, in Hungary, plant-based meals are not allowed in schools and hospitals, and this rule is also observed in other types of institutions (for example, in the domestic prison services). We were given the opportunity to join the public catering cooking competition that has been organised in Hungary for more than 10 years.

We had the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the Hungarian Association of Nature Conservationists (MTVSZ), which supported the competition.

The competition was not only about the food prepared, but also about networking.

The main message of this year’s competition was sustainability, so the public chefs had to prepare a 3-course (starter, main course, dessert), meat-free, adult lunch with mandatory ingredients. They had 4 hours to do this and could save a net of 850 HUF/person on ingredients and energy.

We offered to contact companies, organisations and institutions that help or work in the catering sector to better understand where to direct our efforts in the coming years to change the law and allow plant-based diets in catering. In Hungary, the public catering sector provides daily meals to about 1.5-2 million people. It is also where the younger generation of school children take their eating habits home or to restaurants. That is why we believe it is important to provide information, to change the system, to raise the political system to a level where we can talk openly about plant-based diets and eating.

Vegetarian diets in prisons?

The Prison Service joined the competition for the first time this year, and as a newcomer, NÉGYOSZ was asked to mentor their team. So our organization offered a mentor to prepare meat-free meals for the competition with 12 chefs in 3 prisons. The prisons feed around 18,000 people. Until October, we traveled to these prisons with the mentor, who has about 40 years of experience as a master teacher and university teacher. He is also the father of the man who won the best vegan chef competition in 2023.

The chefs had 4 hours and a net of 850 HUF per person / Photo: NÉGYOSZ

Over the past 6 months, we have met with the heads of prisons. We have been progressively educating them on the importance of a plant-based diet for sustainability, health and animal welfare reasons.

The outcome of the event is also important because the finalist will qualify for Sirha Budapest, the most important international HoReCa and Retail Show in Central Europe, which is one of the most important events for the Hungarian HORECA sector and food industry, to be held on 5-7 March 2024. As a result of our patronage, 2 out of 3 of our teams qualified for next year’s finals, introducing our organisation to the participants we wanted to present to.

The jury is in a difficult situation / Photo: NÉGYOSZ

The competition aims to:

  • To promote public catering,
  • To promote sustainable public catering,
  • To promote sustainable public catering and provide guidance for the development of public catering,
  • Promote the One Meat Free Day a Week campaign,
  • Promoting the development of a nutrition campaign to encourage the development of vegetarian diets,
  • Promoting the promotion of a vegetarian diet
  • Developing a food culture,
  • Promoting the use of fresh local ingredients,
  • Professional training and development of competitors,
  • Demonstrate teamwork among catering workers,
  • Developing teamwork,
  • Improving and developing the quality of catering.

The patrons of the competition are:

  • Dr. István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture
  • Márton Oravecz, President of the National Food Chain Safety Office.

Professional patrons of the competition:

  • Zoltán Hamvas, President of the Hungarian Bocuse d’Or Academy
  • Anna Zoltai, President of KÖZSZÖV, Vice President of the Food Hygiene Society