The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, visited Bucha in the Kyiv region, where she took part in the presentation of the new project – a kitchen factory. This is the return of the President’s wife’s initiative to reform school meals within the framework of the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“It’s hard to express all the emotions you feel here. As for every Ukrainian, for me this is a place of indescribable pain for my compatriots tortured by Russia. But at the same time, Bucha is alive! And it should recover and live, be not only a place of memory of Russian crimes but also a place of a new full-fledged life. Therefore, here we are starting the construction of a new enterprise – a kitchen factory,” she said.
As Olena Zelenska emphasized, the facility’s construction is part of the reform of school meals that began before the Russian attack.
Within the framework of the reform, three options for the organization of meals at school were developed:
• Full cycle kitchen (in educational institutions with economic feasibility and technical and technological possibility; everything is prepared on-site from scratch).
• Support kitchens (hot food is transported from one powerful kitchen to neighboring schools).
• Factory kitchen (large supply, separate building where food is prepared, cooled, and transported to many schools).
Such a kitchen factory allows you to prepare up to 10 thousand portions. In this way, water and electricity costs are saved, food supply to children becomes systematized, safe, and high-quality. And control over the technological process and compliance with HACCP norms will take place at a qualitatively new level.
Just such a kitchen factory will be built in Bucha, Kyiv region. The project’s patron was Howard Buffett, an American philanthropist, and businessman, the son of the famous investor Warren Buffett.
“We first met at the beginning of summer. Then Mr. Buffett said that he was interested in the topic of restoring Ukraine. And he especially wants to do something for the de-occupied territories, the most affected by the Russian invasion. And I offered him a project of a kitchen factory,” the first lady said.
The main consumers of the products of the new kitchen factory will be schools in Bucha and at least two nearby communities – Borodyanska and Nemyshaivska.
At the same time, in wartime, production capacity can be reconfigured or expanded to provide food for any population groups that need it. In particular, the enterprise will be able to feed temporarily displaced persons and local residents.
The kitchen factory in Bucha is expected to become a pilot project. In the future, the network of kitchen factories can be extended to other regions. Each of the enterprises will be able to provide food for 30-40 educational institutions (currently, in Ukraine there is a network of 14 thousand schools and 10 thousand preschool education institutions).
Also, to serve kitchen factories and meet other needs of educational institutions, professional centers for training chefs will be gradually created, which will be able to organize the retraining of such specialists from existing institutions and train chefs permanently.
Olena Zelenska noted the importance of returning to the reform of school meals on the eve of the new academic year.
“In the first months of the Russian invasion, as we all remember, it was not about the principles of nutrition, but about making sure that children and adults had something to eat… But now, as you know, we are starting the school year. Of course, Russia does not want our children to study and have a normal life. But they will definitely gain knowledge. And they will have the best healthy food, as we planned even before the Russian attack. That is why there will be a kitchen factory, and Mr. Buffett will build it precisely in Buch, which will definitely be revived,” the President’s wife emphasized.
She thanked Howard Buffett’s team, Orest Stepaniuk, the chairman of the board of the National Catering Association, and everyone involved in the pilot project of the kitchen factory in Bucha, and also called on potential investors to join the reconstruction of Ukraine, which has already begun.
The kitchen factory in Bucha is expected to start operating on September 1, 2023.