The project favors cross cultural identities and the discovery of new cultures by means of a network of European exchange. It allows the young learners to integrate the experience of an international voyage into their academic life. This enhances their curriculum and adds substantial value to their future professional activities..
Supported and financed by the European Committee, the EFES is a multicultural project brought forth by the city of Tours. Different French, Polish, and Romanian actors are involved in this partnership, all of whom aiming at valuing and transmitting their culinary culture.
By crossing several domains of competence, the project envisions the creation of tools and support to the development of young learners by means of ITC (Information Technology and Communication) and computers. The objective is to propose new teaching tools that allow for the comparison of different approaches and practices within culinary work. Likewise, it encourages exchanges and good practice among the actors of the academic and professional world as well as the body of teachers and students and the employees working within the food service..
The transmission of gastronomy history and culture plays a major role in preparing the future professionals of restaurant and hotel management. The activities of the EFES are integrated to pedagogical projects of different structures. Throughout the year, learners are confronted with situations of research and production..
The exploration of new culinary worlds and the discovery of different approaches and terroirs are some of the opportunities for the students to acquire varied knowledge and know-how and to gain a historical, cultural, and regional view on products, practice, and professional techniques. Such knowledge will allow them to value, preserve, and transmit their culinary heritage..
Spring Schools are truly highlights of the project and are organized in each partner city - Tours (2016), Toruń (2017) et Braşov (2018). Each week of activities gathers involved partners and actors as well as guest speakers and the public itself. For the learners, the Spring School represents the opportunity to present the outcome of their research work and to apply them into their practical work. The program encompasses theme seminars and conferences held by specialists, workshops to discover the terroir, the cuisine of the different partners as well as cuisine courses and contests run by the chefs..
A five-day event in Tours, the first Spring School was the first big marker for the project, and pursued several objectives:
1 / to enable learners, academics, professionals and trainers from different partner organizations in France and Europe to meet and work together around a common theme, the Goose, in order to widen their horizons and to confront their approaches,
2 / to publicize and disseminate the project’s innovative approach, both to an informed audience and to the general public, through learners-created productions,
3 / to enrich the educational tools developed by the project, thanks to the contributions of the seminars, round tables, public and restricted debates organized during the week.
These objectives were largely achieved, and the strong mobilization of local networks such as pre-schools, associations and restaurants helped create a real local event that reached a diverse and large audience for a full week.
In continuity with the Spring School organized in Tours in 2016, the activity and meeting week organized in Torun in 2017 took advantage of the leverage effect of the event to maximize the benefits of the project, and managed to combine specific times for learners and trainers and general times dedicated to dissemination to professional audiences and the general public.
The theme that had been selected by the partners for the year was "River Fishes", a topic that once again allowed the participants to work together and enrich themselves with different technical approaches and diverse cultural heritages.
The 2018 Spring School in Brasov was an important moment in the project as it was the last meeting week in the project.
It followed the structure that had been successful in the two previous Spring Schools, a succession of both students-teachers moments and of more public events. The chosen theme was “Forest”, which allowed all participants to work on and discuss a large variety of subjects such as game meat and wild products, and to compare and take stock of both the commonalities and cultural differences in their culinary practices and heritage.
Yet another productive and enriching week, the 2018 Spring School had the added flavor of a collective reflection on the impacts of the project, and a shared commitment to disseminate its outputs.
“The cooking contest was very nice because in the kitchen, there is no real language barrier: cooking is a universal language. [...] I wish future apprentices will be able to make a trip like this.” (Clément, 2018)
“We are collecting new knowledge for our trades [...] I wish other young people will participate in this kind of projects in their training.” (Léa 2018)
“We learned a lot from our Romanian friends, and from the conferences, classes, activities we participated in.” (Nathan, 2018) “This experience brought us knowledge and contacts to create our own network between cooks, which is very useful to make oneself known; with this experience I opened my eyes to the fact that with passion in my profession, everything is possible! if we are open to opportunities.” (Nicolas, 2017)
“We were able to discover different lives from ours, be it about gastronomy or lifestyle, in spite of the language barrier.” (Eloïse 2017)
“Interesting and rewarding experience culturally and professionally. We saw things that we would not see in usual (French) classes. Very good opportunity to learn and strengthen our English.” (Bastien 2017) “During this week, the program was jostled because many changes were made (NB: due to a strike). I still loved the week because we were able to interact with foreign students, which made us progress in English and made us discover other methods of learning.” (Théo, 2016)
“We took part in a competition that was an opportunity to get to know and interact with our Polish and Romanian counterparts, which was very interesting and informative both culturally and linguistically.” (Bastien & Laura, 2016)
“During our workshop, we were directed and instructed by [a chef from outside the CFA]. The methods and work approach he employed were very dynamic and motivating [...] the week was very informative and rich in cultural exchanges, a nice change in the routine of life at the CFA.” (Antonin & Théo, 2016)
“It was a very good week. A good meeting with the Poles and the Romanians, we managed to communicate with them [...] The conference on the goose was interesting even if the videos were long, the intervention of a university professor was captivating. What we liked most were the cooking competition and the exchanges during the workshop with an external chef.” (Andréa, Morgane, Eloïse et Bryan 2016)
“The learners and trainers who participated in the last Spring School clearly manifested their desire to pursue European mobility projects in the spirit of EFES.” (Marion Barot, european project manager for the CFA, 2018)
« We do appreciate the opportunities we had to meet, understand and to accept different cultures, values and beliefs. This project meant a lot for us because of the challenges, excitements and core values. We are looking forward to using all the material used in all three spring Schools, to disseminate the information and to keep our strong relationships. We hope that even though the project will end at the end of August, other projects will follow.” (Ioana Turcas, coordinating lecturer for Brasov AHA, 2018)
“Again, lots of information, exciting workshops and happy students.” (Ioana Turcas, on the Torun Spring School, 2017)
“ A discussion regarding the vocational culinary programs in all three countries and educational systems was a great opportunity for the Romanian educators to share the status of our professional educational system and learn from the best practices of the French one. Information regarding apprenticeships, the way they fit in the program and their length was also discussed.” (Ada Terea, project coordinator for Brasov, during the Tours Spring School 2016)
“This project has helped us increase the international exposure of our teaching staff as well as of our students. All teachers involved have shared their teaching expertise and gained access to other teaching methods through shared practices as well as observing first hand while attending the Springschools in France and Poland on how similar educational institutions are managed and quality standards are implemented. “ (Ada Terea, Brasov, 2018)
“In terms of impact on teaching methodologies for the University of Tours, the EFES project is part of the fundamental evolution of higher education in France, built around reverse pedagogy and the use of digital technology. The theme of food heritage as deployed in the background of the EFES project, is also at the core of the Ambition-Research-Development "Heritage Intelligence" program. Moreover the university's international relations policy values European academic partnerships such as those initiated within the EFES project. This type of partnership contributes to the decompartmentalization of our approaches and places general interest at the center of all concerns.”
(Mélanie Fauconnier, project coordinator for Tours University, 2018)
City of Tours, France: project pilot, EFES is part of the International Cité of Gastronomy.
CFA of Tours, France : a learner’s center that gathers 1000 students each year, half of whom have applied for the course « hotel management and food service .»
IEHCA, France : The European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food from Tours. Cultural and scientific development agency specialized in Food Studies.
University François-Rabelais, France : High Education establishment that developed an alimentation pole, which aims at encouraging research and training in food studies.
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland: University site with more than 27,000 students and 2,000 researchers. Food Studies cover a strategic dimension and are taught in an interdisciplinary fashion by means of several departments.
American Hotel Academy de Braşov, Romania: an establishment that proposes High Education and professional programs specialized in the hotel-management, food service, and tourism.
The EFES project is supported and financed by the European Commission.