Olympic and Paralympic Games: an inclusive and responsible mega-restaurant

The Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) has just tested the giant restaurant that will feed the 15,000 athletes expected for the competition. Set up under the nave of the Cité du Cinéma in Saint Denis, it will offer cuisines from around the world and will be environmentally and socially responsible…


“Higher, Faster, Stronger…Together.”


To the famous Olympic motto, one could also add “larger, more responsible, more inclusive” to describe the mega restaurant of the Olympic and Paralympic village, which has just been tested at the Cité du Cinéma in Saint-Denis.


Less than a month before the Games kick off, 200 guests, including members of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJOP), employees of partner companies, and journalists were invited to test the main dining venue for the 15,000 athletes expected from around the world. It seems to have been a successful endeavor…


Now, the catering provider Sodexo Live must maintain a particularly…sporty pace.


Because the specifications are impressive.



40,000 Plates per Day


At a rate of three meals per day, totaling 40,000 plates per day, the thousand Sodexo Live employees will indeed serve nearly a million meals throughout the competitions!


To achieve this, a main restaurant, with a capacity of 3,300 seated places, has been installed under the nave of the Cité du Cinéma. It will be open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week throughout the event.


For athletes who prefer not to sit down to eat, they can also visit six takeaway points located in the Olympic Village.


Regarding recipes, organizers have consulted 200 athletes and national Olympic committees in advance.


No French Fries


To meet their wishes, the “seated” restaurant is divided into six patios, including two dedicated to French cuisine and two to world cuisine, with one each for Asian and African-Caribbean cuisine.


However, North American cuisine will, for once, be less prominent. French fries will thus be absent from the athletes’ plates. This is not for dietary reasons but due to safety concerns, as the grand nave of the Cité du Cinéma, dating back to 1933, does not meet standards for frying food.


“Everything is done so that everyone can find their habits, which is very important at the beginning of the event. We don’t want to impose our too French side,” explained Brice Guyart, gold medalist in fencing at the Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004) Olympics and ambassador for the mobilization of athlete sportsmen and women at Paris 2024. “It’s a healthier and more vegetarian cuisine than what I have known.”


500 Recipes


Half of the total 500 recipes developed by the Sodexo Life teams are indeed vegetarian… Considering that it was necessary to comply with the specifications of the International Olympic Committee, which requires 800 grams per meal (instead of the 300 grams needed for an ordinary person). Gluten-free pastries and lactose-free products also cater to intolerances. If needed, athletes at the table can also consult nutritionists present on site.


The organizer and its provider not only aimed for inclusion but also ensured quality, coupled with environmental and social responsibility.


They thus played the proximity card: the Carrefour brand will supply the restaurant with nearly 600 tons of fresh products, 80% of which are of French origin, and a quarter from within a 250-kilometer radius around the sites.


Waste reduction is also part of the program.


Disposable plastic tableware has been banned, with Cojop aiming for a 50% reduction in single-use plastic during the Games compared to previous editions.

Sorting Area


A sorting area is planned so that athletes can deposit their porcelain tableware and reusable plastic cups (reusable).


In the same spirit, plastic bottles will not be available in the village, and athletes will be invited to fill their reusable bottles or cups at one of the two hundred water or soda fountains (provided by Coca-Cola, a historical sponsor of the Games…), spread throughout the village.


A more virtuous system in terms of social responsibility, to avoid food waste, associations and food banks will collect daily what has not been consumed…

In fact, the management of stocks and food flows faces unpredictable elements, such as the time athletes will spend in the village when they are eliminated…

The Largest in the World?


This restaurant, which will undoubtedly have a heart, will it be “the largest in the world” as exclaimed before the press by Tony Estanguet, the president of the organizing committee of the Olympic Games?


According to the book of records, the title of the largest restaurant in the world currently belongs to a Chinese establishment, namely the restaurant “West Lake” , located in Changsha, in the province of Hunan.


With 300 chefs and 800 employees in total, it offers a capacity of 5000 covers per service on an area of 14 hectares ! However, this is divided into a hundred private dining rooms


The overall impression of 3,500 athletes from the 2024 Games gathered around their plates under the nave of the Cité du Cinéma should therefore be, undoubtedly, even more spectacular!


Read also> Olympia: start of the journey of the flame for the Olympic Games of Paris 2024


Featured Photo: © Paris 2024

Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.


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