Food on programmes, what to expect and what to be excited about, and Anthony Bourdain
If you have special dietary requirements, our programmes will strive to meet these. Nonetheless, it will be your duty to take an active role checking at every meal to ensure your requirements are being adhered to, this is particularly important if there are risks of allergens. If you have special requirements, e.g you are a vegan or vegetarian (like the Gotoco director), then we must advise you that will find almost any country you travel to harder than the UK, but as long as you take a positive problem-solving attitude then things are always possible!
What about religious dietary regimes?
In regards to religious requirements, please join our programme aware that this may be abit of a challenge - but that is part of the adventure. Most programme destinations don't have the cultural diversity of the UK, so options that exist in the UK might not exist overseas. Generally in the past, when our participants follow any special dietary regimes, we find they are best able to adapt when they follow a vegetarian diet while on programmes. For example, it can be very hard to find hallal or kosher meat in our programme locations but veggie dishes are plentiful.
If you don't have special requirements, please consider the comments below:
Food is one of the best things about travel, we expect everyone to join our programmes excited to try varied and delicious fare. Please join us with an open mind and a whetted appetite. People get most out of travel when they leave their home-country attitudes at the door - be open minded in all things, particularly in all things food.
Don't forget, you are joining us for a placement and not a package holiday, usually you are staying in real schools, real camps, sometimes even real homes, often times meals might be at the standard of school food, or just classic home cooking, perhaps at some point you might stumble upon a street hawker selling the most exquisite dish you've ever tasted. There will be variety and opportunities. If you are a "fussy eater", you are very likely to experience discontent around eating, because food around the world will be different from what you are used to.
Please leave preconceptions at the door, British cuisine can be one of the world's finest (see here), but generally it has raised many of us with a particularly keen appetite for bland food and strict black&white dietary rules. Please join us with whetted appetites and a willingness to try things, you'll get much out of the experience if you do. If any of this feels like a deal-breaker for you then you might be better off not travelling.
Those of you that are open-minded about food will have opportunities to enjoy a wonderful array of strange and surprising culinary discoveries. You might learn that you only need go as far east as Poland to try some of the most delicious 'bao' style dumplings you'll ever munch. If you like crispy bacon flavours, then 'express trains' will give you joy - these fried bugs are both delicious and also a great means of mitigating our impending environmental catastrophe by providing environmentally friendly protein! Spanish tapas is always fun, but don't forget to try the rustic delights of rarer items such as cartillage crunchingly tastey pig ear. If in Germany, steer near to Mettbrötche - delicious raw pork. Local fare doesn't just mean ancient recipes, Bali has established itself as a multicultural enclave of globe trotting hippies & digital nomads, its a great place to try Russian food or novel new creations such as the 'old fashioned' cocktail infused with a rasher of bacon! Often the most ramshackle looking eateries will give you the best flavours, if somewhere is full of locals then its probably worth visiting.
Please read some inspiring Anthony Bourdain quotes and get aboard!
"If you're twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go."
"If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food, it's a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move."
"Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald's? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?"