« I remember the days when we had vending machines that sold chocolate and soft drinks. We’ve come a long way since then », says Brigitte Cloutier1.
However, she admits that it hasn’t been easy to change habits. « In 1996, when the food policy was introduced, we experienced a drastic decrease in our clientele. We looked for solutions and now we have more lunch customers than we did before », says she who has been a cook at École secondaire Veilleux for 27 years.
Among these changes has been the organization of a health committee, consisting of several stakeholders, that promotes healthy eating habits among young people.
« We also have several sport-study programs in our school, so students are even more aware of the advantages of nutritious foods. »
She underlines the challenge that comes with making the service accessible to all students in the school. « We’re very limited in terms of pricing, but I’m always ready to pay a bit more for quality foods. It makes a difference in the flavour. »
A source of pride
Brigitte Cloutier gets a lot of satisfaction when students appreciate a new menu she’s planned with her two coworkers. « We get comments right away and when we get more customers it becomes a source of pride for us. »
She takes her work to heart. « I work as though I were the owner of the cafeteria, even though I know I’m a school board employee. My coworkers and I are always looking to satisfy our customers and trying to find new ideas. »
It’s clear that these changes have paid off and everyone benefits from this collective success!
1 Brigitte Cloutier is a member of the Syndicat du personnel de soutien scolaire de la Commission scolaire de la Beauce-Etchemin.