A university restaurant in Lille offers vegan menus to students

A student canteen of University of Lille 1 offers students hot dishes, pizzas, sandwiches and vegan pasta, 100% guaranteed without animal products - the very first one in France.
Life in France, Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Pork ribs, spring rolls, bream fillets or vegan ... Burgers with roasted soy steak and vegetables …  The university restaurant (RU) University of Lille 1 Pariselle daily offers students the opportunity choose a 100% vegan menu from the beginning of the year, entrée and dessert included. The Vegan offer, ie guaranteed without animal exploitation products and by-products, also extends to the pasta, sandwiches and pizzas booths.

"Unique en France", the Sentience association is the origin of this initiative. Created in 2012, this association, which sees itself as an "association seeking to create the debate about animal welfare", has established a branch in Lille since July 2015. The offer of 100% vegetable is born from the encounter between Sentience Lille and head of RU Pariselle Philippe Radomiak.

"For several months, the chef was trying to set up a vegetarian initiative to meet the increasing student demand," says Axelle Playoust, co-chairperson of Sentience. "Somebody put us in contact, we met several times and we convinced him to propose a vegan offer instead because it would be more powerful."

"The initiative is a great success"

Although the vegan offer is still limited, the initiative meets a great success with 2000 students coming to the RU Pariselle daily. "We want now to improve this offer at Pariselle in terms of quantity and variety, and launch the same initiative in University of Lille 3, where the association is based Sentience" says Axelle Playoust.

"We have to face many prejudices about the vegan diet, then it enables a true balanced diet," continues co-chairperson of Sentience. "But we also receive many thank you messages from students who could not lunch at the RU before this initiative, as well as students from all over France who ask us how they can launch a similar project at home."

"The vegan food is suitable for almost all diets"

"I fully agree with this initiative: in most university restaurants, vegans students - or even just vegetarian - often have little choices, so there are a lot of benefits to adopting this kind of diet. In addition, the vegan food is suitable for almost all diets, it does not matter if one is vegan, lactose intolerant, or if we do not eat some kind of meat for religious reasons, etc." reacts Diane Berger, a fourth year student at Sciences Po Lille.

"In addition, it will raise the awareness of people who did not ask about the meat on their plate before. This could break the prejudices of the vegan diet," says the girl, herself a vegan "95% of the time." Diane confess: she might not go all the away to the RU Pariselle, located far from home, but ensures that if similar initiatives were developed in the RU of Lille 2 [the faculty of medicine and law to which attached Sciences Po Lille] we would find ourselves there "almost every day!" Lille new Eldorado of veganism? Sentience intends to ensure this.

Originally published in French by Aude Bariéty on 8 February on Le Figaro