The International Choice

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Cafeteria FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is the menu chosen?

The catering company select meals that are varied, balanced, follow Bulgarian law and meet financial limits which the school has set. They also work within the confines of needing to provide meals to an international community, varying in age from 4 years to adult. At a minimum they offer at least one meat and one vegetarian/vegan option for main course and almost always offer more. Each day there is also a soup, a choice of salad and something for dessert, such as fruit or yoghurt.This menu is then reviewed by the cafeteria committee - a working group made up of staff, parents and the catering company managers. Suggestions for improvement are discussed and where possible are implemented. New ideas are often tried but after a fair trial if they do not prove to be popular then they are discontinued, bearing in mind the need to keep waste to a minimum.

Do parents choose the food for their kids?

The school considers making decisions about food choices as an important part of the children’s overall education and a necessary life skill. By allowing the children to choose for themselves from the heated counters, the children are offered food that is able to be served fresh and of a high standard. It is also well documented, and we at the school have observed, that children are more likely to eat food they have chosen for themselves, keeping the waste to a minimum and therefore, in turn, fulfilling a criteria for AAS as a green, eco-friendly school.

Are the choices for Elementary and Secondary schools different?

Yes. We keep the choice simple in the elementary school so that the young children don’t get confused, or overwhelmed by choice, or take too long in choosing what they want to eat. This keeps the queues down to a minimum and therefore the waiting for their peers down to a reasonable level.
In the Secondary school the children are older and more practiced at choosing and so are able to make their minds up more quickly, so this isn’t a cause of delay. Also, having a wider choice of food is an acknowledgement of pupils being considered older, more responsible and able to make good choices and is considered a privilege of being in the secondary school. This line is also where the staff queue for their meals.

Does the school serve fried food?

The cafeteria does not serve fried food, all the food is baked in the oven, including any potato products such as ‘fries’.

Can the school have a salad bar and the children help themselves to salad of their choice?

No. Much as both the school and the caterer would like provide a salad bar in the cafeteria, Bulgarian law forbids children from helping themselves to food, so we cannot install a self-service salad bar.

Does the school cater for vegetarians and vegans?

Yes, there is always a vegetarian dish offered and normally more than one. They try to make one of those options vegan where practical, while still providing variety.

Does the school cater for restricted diets, such as no pork or beef?

Yes, the caterer always provides a chicken or fish dish (often both) as an alternative if they are offering pork or beef, and there are also the vegetarian options available.

Can the cafeteria provide meals for those with food allergies?

The catering staff and supervising staff are made aware of pupils who have food allergies and help them to make suitable choices from the options available. In the upper school all the lunch items are labelled with the ingredients to help students and staff manage any allergies. However, the cafeteria are unable to cook food to individual order so parents can send their child to school with packed lunches and snacks from home if they think that is a better alternative.

Does the cafeteria provide Kosher or Halal foods?

We are not able to provide Kosher or Halal foods in the school cafeteria.

Food for thought regarding meals in a typical school year:

Assuming that the average person eats 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), in a typical year a person would have 1095 meals (365 days x 3). An academic year is 180 days, and if a student had lunch everyday at school that would amount to 180 meals. Therefore in a year a student would eat 915 meals (84%) at home and 180 (16%) at school. The percentage is a bit higher for staff (27% of meals eaten at school) as they are often in school for training and preparation when the pupils are not. Keeping the above perspective in mind, for students, parents and staff, it can be seen that items related to health, fitness and food preference are probably best addressed at home.

Are cafeteria lunches available for preschool (Pre-K) kids?

Yes, although the system is a bit different for this grade to the rest of the school. Parents pre-order the meals on a monthly basis, the meals are delivered from the kitchen to the classroom in a heated trolley and the children eat their lunches in part of the preschool suite rather than the cafeteria.