Every one of us has a horrendous experience of ‘canteen’ food. Whether it was in a hospital, at school, in an airport or at the workplace, canteen food has the tendency to be not only unappealing and unappetising but also not healthy.
Niko Romito, chef of the three Michelin star restaurant Reale at Casadonna in Castel di Sangro, Abruzzo, Italy believes this should not be the case.
He believes the nutritional aspects of food are often forgotten even when it comes to simple things like vegetables and he has set himself the task of changing this with a project he has been working on with the University La Sapienza and the Group Giomi/Gioservice to tackle hospital food. The aim behind the project is to improve the nutritional aspect of the food while respecting budgetary considerations. It is a project that has the potential to be applied to any time of ‘canteen’ or large scale cooking.
“A top down approach is more interesting than a bottom up approach,” Niko Romito believes. And while the nutritional aspect of cooking at his three Michelin star restaurant is not necessarily his focus, he believes that the food he serves is healthy and nutritious to be served in hospitals.
“At the very top, chefs are carrying out a lot of research, testing, experimenting. I am convinced that working from the top we can change things,” Niko told Food and Wine Gazette in an interview.
He uses the Formula One analogy. “The technology starts in formula one but then it is eventually used for the mass market. The same can be said for fine dining and canteen cooking. You can study the produce and then you can provide the change because you have the ability to influence people since more people follow you. You can afford to have 18 people working with you to carry out the research,” he said......
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Written by Ivan Brincat / Food and Wine Gazette