A holistic solution to the sustainability and quality challenges in professional kitchens
In 2007, the Copenhagen House of Food was established with the aim of creating better public meals in the municipality of Copenhagen. The public kitchens in Copenhagen consists of approximately 900 kitchens reaching across canteens, day care centers, nursing homes and everywhere else the municipality serves meals for the citizens.
Simultaneously with the increased focus on meal quality, the Municipality of Copenhagen had also decided to reach 90 % organic produce across all purchases in the public kitchens by 2015. Since the organic conversion was to be completed within the existing operating budget, the kitchens had to go through a major change in the way they prepared their meals.
Organic produce is often times more costly which means that the conversion had to be made not only when bying produce, but also in meal planning and cooking.
The amibition of heightening the quality of the public meals was combined with the effort to reach 90 % organic produce and this is how the Copenhagen Model came to life.
Over the last ten years we have further developed the method that was born through our work in Copenhagen. The result is a holistic method of increasing the quality of food in professional kitchens. The method has been developed and tested in collaboration with experts and kitchen professionals, and has, among other things, resulted in the City of Copenhagen being the world's most organic capital.
We want food made with passion for the process and care for those who will eat it. Even if it's just a plain Thursday, the meal should be inviting and tasteful. This means focus on the taste and cooking methods, even in large pots.
The chain is not stronger than the weakest joint. The meal is no better than the produce it is made of. We don't believe in premade mashed potatoes. Instead we learn five new potato varieties. Animal welfare and sustainability is also high on the grocery list. Quality in produce requires knowledge of seasons and different cuts, species and varieties. And time and ability to make good and nutritious food from scratch.
Disrespect means ugly or dirty dining rooms, unsuitable tables and chairs, shabby plates, and last but not least interruptions and turmoil. Therefore, hosting is a key concept. You need to have proper surroundings to be able to find your appetite. This is especially true for people living in institutions and nursing homes who cannot leave if they don't fancy what is on the menu.
10 - 25 % of Danish children and adolescents are overweight or severe overweight. Up to 60 % of the elderly in nursing homes are at risk of malnutrition. It would be healthy for the society to fix this issue. Food isn't nutrition until it reaches the stomach. It requires care and insight into the needs and wishes of the elderly, children or adolescents to make them appetizing meals that attract and nurture them.
Shared responsibility and job satisfaction is the solution to how we motivate each other to strive for new culinary levels and meal experiences of high quality. That's why we work interdisciplinary. Management must recognize and engage in the kitchen's work and ensure the meal's economy and quality. The kitchen staff, on the other hand, take responsibility for the proper nutrition and the good taste, because they are experts.