In keeping with French school food policy, which established nutritional guidelines for meals, and in line with a global push for healthy, balanced diet for school children, Lycée Français de Jakarta (LFJ) strives to serve a wholesome menu for its students and staff.
It’s an exciting challenge for the school’s Catering Coordinator Soizick Crochet, a highly experienced public health professional who spent years working at the canteens of several international schools in Jakarta and abroad. Her job is to design the daily menu and procuring the ingredients, while leading a team of 16 in the school kitchen.
In carrying out her duties, Crochet is required to adhere to the guidelines set forth in the French National Nutrition and Health Programme. For instance, meat proteins are grammed at 40 to 80 grams for primary children and 80 to 100 grams for secondary children. Meat dishes have to be 75 percent lean meat. Meat dishes with a higher percentage of fat can only be served once a week.
“As for the challenges, we have to create new menu everyday and ensure that it follows the strict criteria [regulation]. We have to prepare the food as quickly as possible, starting the work at 7 AM to make sure everything is ready before lunchtime. We also have to source the ingredients here in Indonesia without ‘killing’ the budget,” Soizick told NOW! Jakarta.
“But the biggest challenge is to make sure that the students’ diet cycle stays in order. For instance, if you skip breakfast, you will be hungry before lunch and hence you will look for heavy snacks. By lunchtime, you’re so full, you’ll end up skipping the meal. When you’re on your way home from school and you pass a bakery, you will buy a slice of cake, for example, and therefore you might skip dinner. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Snack time at LFJ usually means time to munch on fruit, such as orange, banana or apple. “It helps improve their appetite for lunch instead and it doesn’t make them full,” said Soizick.
The canteen at LFJ serves a total of around 500 students on a daily basis, out of which 300 are regular visitors. There are two types of menu available: Western (Italian, Mexican, French etc) or Asian (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian etc). Some of the dishes have included Beef Stroganoff, Oriental Beef Stew and Chicken Tagine with Plums and Vegetables.
“It makes me happy to be able to serve the food to the kids and have a chat over how they’re doing. It makes me even happier when they come and say, ‘Can I have a second one, please?’” Soizick said with a smile.
In order to expand the kids’ palates and promote knowledge of other cuisines, LFJ also runs a programme called “Week of Taste”, during which the canteen offers a wide variety of tastes every day for a week.
“They don’t need to finish the food, but at least they try it. We are here not only to provide food and please the kids, but also to teach them about food and why we should respect it.”
Also part of Soizick’s routine agenda is a discussion with students and parents to get their thoughts on what could be improved.
“It takes balance. We cannot please just the parents or the kids because we also have these food criteria to follow. Everything must be balanced.”
Lycée Français de Jakarta
Jl. Cipete Dalam No. 32,
RT 2 / RW 4, Cipete, Cilandak,
South Jakarta, Jakarta, 12410
P: +62-21 7503062