When it comes to office canteen food, the VHI Food Lab cafe is leading a quiet revolution. Located in the Carrickmines retail park, this cafe is redefining the typical office lunch by offering fresh, nutritious, and plant-centered meals. The absence of deep-fat fryers and unhealthy options like chips and burgers sets the stage for a menu filled with salads, soups, and sustainable protein choices.
Chef Domini Kemp, who runs the cafe on behalf of VHI 360 Health Centre, explains that the focus is on incorporating diverse varieties of plants, herbs, and spices into their dishes. Each day, fresh supplies are delivered, and the menu is emailed to staff at 11am. It includes a hot main meal, a selection of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and freshly made soups.
The patrons of the Food Lab cafe recognize that choosing to eat there makes them feel better than opting for nearby fast-food options. The bright and inviting space creates a pleasant dining experience, contrasting traditional basement staff canteens found in many office buildings.
There is a diverse range of individuals who frequent the cafe. Oksana Goljevacki, a radiology assistant, enjoys her lunch break at the Food Lab to escape from her 10-hour shift, praising the good food as a necessity for her daily routine. Occupational therapist and health coach, Orla O’Brien, loves the energy boost and the vibrant flavors the cafe offers. Even Dr. James Kennedy, a member of the medical team, is enticed by the quality of the food, often bringing home meals for his wife and infant child.
The cafe is not limited to health professionals; even technology company employees like Darragh O’Gorman, Hugh O’Connor, and Martin McNamara choose the Food Lab for its tasty, healthy, and more substantial alternatives to fast food. It has inspired O’Gorman to try vegetarian dishes that he would never cook at home.
The success of the Food Lab cafe in providing wholesome and delicious meals has prompted a broader movement in the office-based food industry. Companies like Gather & Gather are transforming workplace restaurants into more than just canteens. Mark Anderson, the culinary director for Gather & Gather, emphasizes the importance of offering food made from scratch, using local and seasonal ingredients. Chefs at these workplaces write their own menus, taking into account the preferences and needs of the clients.
Furthermore, the placement of food counters in these canteens influences healthy choices, with an emphasis on fresh greens and salads. The portion control is also taken into consideration, with some sites offering assisted service or fully plated options.
In conclusion, the rise of the healthy office canteen is changing the way we perceive workplace dining. By prioritizing fresh ingredients, diverse plant-based options, and the overall well-being of employees, these establishments are revolutionizing the way we eat during the workday.
What makes the VHI Food Lab cafe different from traditional office canteens?
The VHI Food Lab cafe offers a menu focused on fresh, nutritious, and plant-centered meals, in contrast to the typical deep-fried and unhealthy options found in traditional canteens.
Why do people choose to eat at the Food Lab cafe?
Patrons of the cafe appreciate the quality and taste of the food, as well as the positive impact it has on their overall well-being compared to fast-food alternatives.
How are workplace restaurants changing the dining experience?
Companies like Gather & Gather are transforming workplace restaurants by offering food made from scratch, using local and seasonal ingredients. Chefs write their own menus, taking into account the preferences and needs of the clients.
What factors contribute to healthy choices in office canteens?
The placement of food counters, with an emphasis on greens and salads, influences healthy choices. Some sites also offer assisted service or fully plated options to control portion sizes.