Today, on April 28, young chefs in Tartu Vocational Education Center as well as in Omnia and Vamia vocational schools in Finland prepare food according to the principles of sustainable cooking. Thus students celebrate international Stop Food Waste Day but also competing with each other.

The event takes place within the framework of the Cooking for the Future (CORE) project, where several online trainings have previously taken place for participating schools to discuss in more detail the different ways of implementing sustainability principles in the restaurant kitchen as well. Based on this knowledge, the students already prepared their own menu and today the dishes are prepared and presented to evaluators for tasting.

Markus Pärn, a vocational teacher of young chefs, said that wasting food is actually a big problem, and platforms like Fudler, for example, are one way of getting all the food prepared to be eaten. “Less attention has been paid to other elements of sustainability in restaurants. For example, long-distance transport of exotic raw materials significantly increases the ecological footprint. Instead, local and seasonal ingredients from roots to fruits should be used to increase sustainability. Also vegetable raw materials should be preferred where possible,” he said.

Today, the students of the study group K119 prepared dishes of local herring, sprat, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, curd, berries, and fresh sprouts and even nettle leaves can be found on the plate. “We made eight different street food and spring-inspired dishes and now we are looking forward to the results,” said Argo Pärn, the boys’ team’s head chef. Alina Pagarina, who led the girls’ team, also confirms that a good chef must be able to use all raw materials well and without leftovers. “It was not difficult to develop a menu based on local seasonal food because the ingredients are familiar and you already know what’s to come,” she added.

The issue of food losses is not new to young people and green thinking is widespread. “I know that, statistically, one third of the world’s food is wasted, and it’s pretty scary. It’s great that we really address this issue when planning our menu. And otherwise, even at school, we still avoid throwing away edible stuff. For example, we dry the ends of the bread and make the breadcrumbs ourselves,” said Argo Pärn.

The aim of the CORE project is to introduce future cooking trends and increase cooking skills among young chefs. The project involves culinary schools from Finland, Ireland, Spain and Estonia and is funded by the Erasmus + program.

Visit for more information CORE project website