Trøndelag Food Festival
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Youth Restaurant is a day made in heaven for middle school students. In one day, a group of students from several middle schools cook and serve a three-course meal based on locally produced foods. coming to enjoy this dinner are parents, teachers and politicians. In the evening everybody is gathered for an award ceremony, and among all the schools participating one of them will win the night. The feedback from students, teachers and restaurants is that they get a good experience of what it’s like to work the restaurant- and cooking business. As many of the students get inspired the initiative of Youth Restaurant is a positive step in recruiting young people to choose to go to culinary school or enrol in certificate programs in food production.
Every year in the fall in Trøndelag the Youth Restaurant competition is put on, and 10 restaurants and 10 middle schools participate.
Youth Restaurant is a joint effort by many parties with the intention of recruiting talented and interested young people into the food business. The idea was hatched by Trøndelag County Council, our company Oi! Trøndersk Mat og Drikke and the Trondheim chapter of the Norwegian Professional Chefs Association. Many businesses and people wanted to contribute; restaurant owners, executive chefs, food producers and suppliers, sponsors, teachers, students and lots of good helpers.
All the restaurants are provided with the same kinds of food supplies, and they are free to decide what kind of menu they would like to create. Throughout the day the teenagers will plan, prepare, cook and serve a three-course dinner for parents, teachers, local policymakers and maybe even some regional celebrities. Three judges are observing the students all day, and evaluate the process based on levels of planning, preparations and follow-through, in short how everything from how the table is set to how the food is presented on the plate.
-Our intention with Youth Restaurant is to create interest and engagement in culinary, food and restaurant studies. Throughout the day the students get the chance to experience what it means to work with food in a restaurant. Both the restaurants and the students agree that this is a great way to show off the business, says Geir-Rune Larsen, the manager for The Professional Food and Restaurant Network in Trøndelag. He is also the head of the food and hospitality program at Strinda High School. Larsen is one of the passionate people promoting the Youth Restaurant concept and has witnessed the results of this recruitment strategy.
-At Strinda High School the number of applicants for the Food and Hospitality program has increased considerably over the past few years. Many of our students now started out as participants in Youth Restaurant when they were in middle school.