Working as the 2020/2021 intern for the University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project (UGSRP) I was recently presented with the opportunity to take a sustainability certification course for foodservice professionals. This course is called the Sustainable Foodservice Professional (SFP) certificate program and was produced by Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) and The Next Course Ltd.(TNC).
The course covers five major topics related to the sustainability of a foodservice operation; (1) Concept + Cuisine, (2) Source + Supply, (3) Hot + Cold, (4) Materials + Waste, and (5) Business + Culture. Each topic is further broken down into smaller lessons on the essential concepts of each. The entire certification process and website is extremely well formatted, allowing the participant to navigate through the course with ease and without confusion. They also provide different certification options for what may better suit your lifestyle; they provide a professional certification and a student certification. Both certifications cover the same materials but the student one is different in a few ways; it is performed in chronological order without the ability to skip topics, it provides the user with additional time to complete the entire course (120 days), and there are 5 additional quizzes to better solidify your learning throughout the course. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I was able to take this certification at my own pace, as I feel this allowed me to slow myself down, re-read and revisit areas when needed, resulting in better knowledge development on the topics covered. Once you have covered all the topics and completed all the required lessons, you must pass the final 30-question quiz to earn your certification. You are required to achieve a minimum of 75% on this quiz and are provided with 2 attempts. In total it took me approximately 6 hours to complete the whole course and receive my certification in the “Sustainable Foodservice Professional – Level 1” program.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course and would strongly recommend it to anybody in the foodservice industry looking to further develop their skills and knowledge in the area of sustainability. The lessons are extremely thorough but easy to understand, making it a great course for anybody at any level in a foodservice operation. It’s also formatted and written in a way that is easy to follow with the use of simple language, bolds and italics, and a special mention of their jokes cracked and their play on words throughout the course that cause you to crack a smile while reading and look forward to what may come next. My absolute favourite part of this course was the SFP Video Mentor clips they had throughout each topic. These clips had Canadian chefs, operators, and experts discuss certain topics covered in the course by posing a question/questions related to a set topic and having them answer based on their experience in the industry. I think this is an extremely powerful tool as you can see the passion and dedication these people have for their craft and as a student and someone who works in the foodservice industry it’s extremely inspiring.
There is a major lack of certifications in the food and beverage industry relating to the topic of sustainability so I’m extremely grateful and proud to see that one has been produced and managed by these two amazing industry leaders. Due to our current circumstances it’s important that we take this slight pause in time to look at the situation as a whole and use this program as an opportunity to examine how we are currently operating and how we can change this in the near future to become more adaptable, resilient, and sustainable in our operations so we are more confident to face what is unknown in the future. This certification program is a huge opportunity for us in the industry to have a better and more standard understanding of what sustainability can and should look like in our operations.
For more information on this certification go to this link: https://www.leafme.org/sustainability-training
by Lily Wilson