The intoxicating smell of several types of roasting, refried beans, various soups, sauerkraut spread through the room, while students and pupils, patiently and like soldiers, waited in line for their meal. Their friends were already enjoying the extensive and varied food, they invited others to, from one end of the room, come to them as soon as possible and take a seat... These scenes are familiar to those who live and eat lunch in clubs and canteens every day or, on the other hand, sporadically near the Podgorica student dormitory Plavi dvor across Morača.
Employees with whom the "Vijesti" team spoke that day say that, on average, they prepare hundreds of meals depending on the period of the school or student year. They note that the number of users increases in October, November, December, but stagnates during exam and holiday periods - January, February, June and July.
The students with whom "Vijesti" reporters spoke are very satisfied with the offer of the Blue Palace canteen.
They also say that "they always eat well for little money". According to them, the choice of meals is more than good, but there is always room for diversity.
The condition of the canteen is more than good, and the food is delicious, the reporters of "Vijesti" who talked to the students and had the opportunity to taste the dishes from the daily menu were convinced. The quality of the food justifies the large attendance and student praise, as the "Vijesti" team was convinced. Prepared with a lot of love and respect for pupils and students, the menu had everything - from cooked dishes, soups, baked potatoes, to cakes, apples, oranges, even squeezed juices... The students were especially pleased with the chicken schnitzel and pasta in the window , so the demand for them was still the highest.
Student of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montenegro (UCG) Gojko Pavlovic he said that he is very happy with the canteen services.
"When we look at how many students are staying here at any given moment, I think the quality of the food is quite good as far as I'm concerned. If we consider the price for which all this service is provided, this is excellent. I'm not too picky when it comes to food, it all depends on what I like. I might be the biggest fan of chicken. I don't have any major complaints about the canteen, maybe the only thing is that we all want more fries for dinner", said Pavlović.
Emil Hodzic, a student at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Podgorica, emphasizes that he has been a canteen user for a long time.
"I have been using the canteen services for four or five years. There are some small things, let me say, related to food. As for the service, it's great. The only thing is that there are more types of meat. We don't all eat one type of meat, but several. The rest of the service is relatively good, the employees are great," concludes Hodžić.
The employees, on the other hand, point out that the most important thing for them is the satisfaction of "those they feed every day", which is why they often listen to "verbal suggestions of various kinds".
Explaining that pupils and students are entitled to 30 meals every month.
The price, they say, varies depending on the daily meal. Users pay EUR 0,14 for breakfast and EUR 0,45 for lunch. Dinner, on the other hand, is cheaper than lunch and costs 0 euros.
This means that students, on average, have to allocate 31,50 euros per month for canteen services.
Chicken and steaks go the fastest
Hosting "Vijesti" reporters in a special room, the head of the canteen Ankica Milosevic she confirmed that "chicken and schnitzel are the fastest".
"Our menu is such that every day there is food for everyone. It takes us one to three hours to prepare the food, and we start preparing at seven in the morning. Our lunch starts at 11 a.m. and lasts until four in the afternoon. For breakfast, there is a classic menu - omelettes with salami, prosciutto. Apart from them, the options include jam, margarine, hot dogs, sweet and salty honey...", said Milosevic, adding that up to 13 workers work in the kitchen with her.
He points out that the menu is created on a monthly basis, but that, depending on the case, it can be changed weekly.
"If we don't have something on the menu, then we change it weekly or monthly, it all depends. A lot depends on the supplier. Then we also inform the students. They and the students, specifically, do not complain about the quality of the food. They complain when a dish passes - chicken or something else. Students suggest to us that there should be more chicken, goulash, Carađorđ schnitzel," said Milošević.
Something for everyone
Head of the food sector Magdalena Kasalica she told "Vijesti" that the number of pupils and students in the canteen premises depends on whether it is the time of holidays, exam periods or breaks.
"At the moment, there are fewer students because there were holidays and students have a break until February 20. When we are at full capacity, that numerical situation is different. We have two kitchens and three clubs. The kitchens are open from 21 a.m. to XNUMX p.m. and we prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for students. Meals can be taken in the clubs for breakfast vouchers. The highest part of the breakfast is realized through the clubs", said Kasalica.
According to her, the kitchen of the Old House currently supplies about 300 students.
"Our largest numbers are in September and October, because students have the opportunity to pay vouchers until the twentieth of the month. After that, they have the right to use them until the tenth of the following month. Our food is diverse, so the response of students is very high because of that," said the manager of the food sector.
Kasalica says that a monthly agreement is made regarding student meals.
"Every month there is a committee that makes the menu, which includes food technologists, chefs, representatives of student organizations and students. Menus are made depending on the season. Now the menu includes salads, sarma. In springtime, grilled peppers, vegetables, Swiss chard, and zucchini are represented," she said, adding that every meal is accompanied by a side dish in the form of "cakes, fruits, teas, and juices."
Controls and verbal suggestions
Kasalica also notes that they have an "agreement with the Institute for Public Health (IZJCG) that checks the condition of the canteen twice a year." She pointed out that the inspection regularly visits all canteen facilities on the territory of Podgorica. As he says, students generally have no complaints about food made by chefs and specialists.
"We have, sometimes, verbal suggestions. Let's say, students like chicken the most, so they ask for it the most. Dishes that students and pupils like are usually gone early, and then there is a dish that they like less, so they ask for that percentage to increase. Students, like all young people, like pastries and pizza the most. We try to respect them as much as possible and serve high-energy food in our monthly menus," said Kasalica.
They observe fasting and religious holidays
Magdalena Kasalica points out that employees in the canteen try to respect all religious holidays and fasting, as well as students who are vegetarians.
"We respect fasting very much. In the last few years, students have been fasting en masse. There was a Christmas fast that we followed to the end, and we observe the fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. We know who fasts according to the principle of self-service. There are also cases when they tell us that their fast is starting and ask if they can eat at different times. We try to respect them as much as possible from our side. We had no objections. We try to respect every student's suggestion. The food is so diverse that everyone can find what they like best", said the "Vijesti" interviewee.
They asked for more money from the Ministry, but they are satisfied with what they got
The director of student dormitories in Podgorica, Luka Ilić, told "Vijesta" that, together with his teams, he is actively working to improve the condition of the canteen. There are fewer and fewer complaints, says Ilić, about the general condition in Podgorica homes.
"I believe that we have made a great success in terms of the quality of the canteen, food and taste, and, of course, the assortment. A little more work could be done on additional assortments, pastries, pancerots, on everything that students like. Possibly to improve the offer in the clubs. We are working to increase the number of foods that students will be able to use in the coming period," Ilić said.
He said that the canteen is partly financed monthly by the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation (MPNI).
"We send the number of users every month, and the department, based on that, pays the funds that have already been determined by the rulebook. Since this year, the way of financing homes has changed, so we are very satisfied with how things are going now. Although we asked for the contribution of the ministry to be higher, we reached a compromise and a figure that suits everyone", said the interlocutor of "Vijesti".