Restaurant owners offer meals to students



In a building at the Crous, in Paris, on February 9.


© MARTIN BUREAU
In a building at the Crous, in Paris, on February 9.

In spring 2020, the images were heartwarming : pizza makers, cooks – from neighborhood fast food to “gastro” -, pastry chefs, chocolate makers … spontaneously delivering generous meals or small treats to caregivers in the midst of the fight against the first wave of the Covid. It was the time when you didn’t have to live near a steeple to know when 8 p.m. struck, the applause from the windows marking the beginning of the evening every day. It was the time of gratitude, optimism, solidarity (hold our hearts, together we are going to get rid of this damn virus). Almost a year later, there is little left of optimism; gratitude becomes less demonstrative. But the solidarity is still there, even if the images of long lines of students waiting to receive packed lunches are far from being so encouraging.

Particularly affected by the health crisis (isolation, distance learning, loss of food jobs, etc.), many of them find it difficult to fill their fridge. If the government has launched via the Crous a meal to one euro accessible to all students, these are barely sufficient. In recent weeks, restaurant owners have therefore organized themselves to offer free meals to young people in difficulty.

“It feels good”

In Colmar, Olivier Nasti takes part in a solidarity operation with the students: for four weeks, 16 chefs, some of them starred, will take turns to prepare 100 menus per day – a total of 1,600 meals. “These are two mothers who asked us if we could do something for the students. It’s a nice step, we did it at the first confinement with the hospital service and we extend it there. It is a period when we need to get together, to have a lot of friendship, of conviviality ”, he said to Release. Suppliers helped, gave vegetables, bankers also wrote checks. My notoriety helped. We remain active, we bought a food truck in April. During this period, if you do nothing, you fall into a rhythm where you are no longer creative, where you are bored of everything, life becomes monotonous. It’s good for the teams, the employer, everyone. ”

In Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), L’Etoile de Fès also offers burgers, sandwiches and tacos to students who request them. “A student should not starve, ask questions about his rent. He must study and follow his dream. It costs us very little but for the person in need, it can cheer them up ”, explained his manager, Brahim Bourkia, au Bondy Blog. In Bordeaux, it’s Prakash Narayanan, manager of the MetSens restaurant, who offers around twenty students a hot meal every day, for example a roast chicken with homemade mash and vegetables. Like Brahim Bourkia, he became aware of the situation of students through television: «I saw a report where we saw students queuing to get food, he said to South West, and which sometimes did not even have a euro. ” One euro is the price of the full menu (starter, main course, dessert, for example pumpkin soup, roasted sweet potato and bulgur, tomato sauce and salad, cream puffs) offered at 50 students every day by the restaurant Le Reflet (Paris IIIe).

“The time was getting long enough”

In Amiens, students in need can pick up ready meals (lasagna with salmon, veal tagine, etc.) at the Ad Hoc Café.: «Time was getting long enough. Finding your team, your kitchen, no longer being non-essential and being able to help students by cooking, it’s all about happiness ”, testified his chef Laurent Giacomelli to France 3. Other restaurants have offered meals more punctually: kebabs at Reims, pad thai and Syrian dishes in Niort, vegetarian Valentine’s menu at Lyon… Finally, the Ecotable community, which brings together restaurateurs who value eco-responsibility and who had already mobilized in the spring for caregivers, is preparing to cook 500 meals per week for students, until the end of the course. college year. An online prize pool has been launched – 1,718 meals have already been funded.

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