On Tuesday afternoon, students were just taking fresh loaves out of the oven downstairs in the bakery, and the warm smell of cost-price bread filled the shop.
There were loaves of dark and bitter rye bread, healthy wholemeal, and crusty-soft white bread, all for €1.
The Outlet Shop in the DIT campus on Cathal Brugha Street has been running for about three years.
It’s part of the efforts to reduce food waste at the DIT’s nearby School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, says Frank Cullen, head of the school. “For me it’s an environmental issue, I mean who wants to see food being thrown out?”
During the recession, the culinary school looked at their entire practice in the school, in order to minimise waste. “If we can eliminate waste we are saving taxpayers’ money and that is extremely important to us also,” he says.
The outlet shop is stocked with food from the two bakeries, one of which is used for confectionary, and the other for breads.
The students who make the products have the first option to buy them. If they don’t snap them up, they are sold.
Gary Poynton who works in the Outlet Shop, said that traditionally the Germans ate rye bread while the French tended to eat white bread. They sell both types in DIT.
A full size gateaux sells in the outlet for about a third of its normal price. It costs between €5 and €8, while the same cake would normally cost more than €20.
It’s a handy bakery for students from the nearby DIT Cathal Brugha Street campus. “I come to the bakery frequently. It’s closer, cheaper and better than the supermarkets,” says student Sarah McCabe. “I wouldn’t eat bread and cakes that often if I had to buy it somewhere else.”
Whenever chocolate confectionary products come into the shop, the word tends to spread fast around the campus. They get bought up very quickly, says Poynton.
Whatever bread doesn’t sell in the culinary shop is used to make breadcrumbs, which can be used in cakes or frozen for later, says Cullen.
“But because we cannot breadcrumb cakes, we are currently looking at donating these to charities which provide food for homeless people,” he said.
He’s also taken other measures to cut back on what they have to throw out. Students make one plate, rather than four plates of a dish. And faculty colleagues try to match up what they plan for classes.
“We coordinate with each other as well, so one example [is if] one of my colleagues is making Madeira cake this week. I need Madeira cake for one of my recipes, so I’ll be in communication with them to use the ones they made,” says Denise Connaughtan, a lecturer in bakery and pastry arts.
As well as the two bakeries that supply the outlet shop, DIT also has its own restaurant on campus. Students learn how to do silver service there. A three-course gourmet lunch costs €10.
This semester they are open for lunch three days a week: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
The restaurant will also be open to the public for dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday nights after Christmas. Dinner is €15 for three courses.