Catering and event staff at Holyrood have been learning more about the food traditions of different faiths this month, thanks to a specialised training programme organised by the Scottish Parliament.
Designed to promote equality of opportunity for people of all faiths visiting the Parliament, the unique ‘food and faith’ session was run by the Scottish Inter-Faith Council and organised by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB).
Tailored specifically to the catering and event staff responsible for preparing and presenting food at the Scottish Parliament, the training session applies to food prepared for events, the staff restaurant and in the public café.
The two-hour seminar focused on providing catering staff with a background to different faiths, an understanding of the importance of the way food is presented and prepared, and highlighted the forthcoming regulations covering religion and belief which will prevent discrimination in the provision of goods, services and facilities.
Development and Education Officer of the Scottish Inter-Faith Council, Dr. Maureen Sier, who ran the seminar for the Parliament, said: "I was delighted to be given this opportunity to work with Parliament staff to ensure that the needs of different faith communities are represented. Food is an important area for all faiths and a greater knowledge of their individual dietary requirements is vital to promote inclusiveness and equal participation particularly in the context of the Parliament.”
Lynn Abernethy, general manager for food and facilities management provider Sodexho Scotland , who is responsible for catering at the Parliament, was at the seminar. She said: "At the Scottish Parliament we are already aware of how important it is to make sure we provide food that is appropriate for all our customers – staff, MSPs and the public alike, but the seminar was really useful for the team in terms of gaining greater awareness about what foods are best to present and prepare.”
The aim of the Scottish Inter-Faith Council is to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Scotland including awareness of both their distinctive features and of their common ground and to promote good relations between persons of different religious faiths.