A couple of months ago, my mom asked me what I had for lunch. I realized that even after living here for such a long time, I haven’t written about the wonder that is lunch at Nestle headquarters. I mean, it makes sense; Nestle is the largest food & beverage company in the world. But, I wasn’t prepared for what an event it is each day.
First, I need to set the scene. The environment is not one where you grab some food and find someone to sit with. No, no, no. Lunches are scheduled in advance. And, if you’re like me, you book them way in advance, so you don’t risk eating alone. Or worse, getting stuck with just a sandwich. The positive about this set up is that nearly everyone in the building is having lunch. It’s a great opportunity to eat with a variety of people. It’s been one of my favorite ways to get to know teammates, other US expats, locals, and people from all over the world who are working here on short term assignments.
At noon everyday, I go down to “the screens” to meet my lunch date. (“The screens” are the tv screens that showcase what the menu is for the day.) There are typically five entrees to choose from, plus the grill, salad bar, and other a la carte items. Depending on who you’re meeting for lunch, there may be kisses involved, which gives me plenty of opportunities to be awkward!
After greeting one another, glancing at the menu (or not if you like to make your decision when you are actually in the canteen and can guarantee the meal actually looks like the picture), you walk up the stairs with your lunch date to pick up your tray and determine together if you’re going to meet at the left registers or the right registers.
(I am not exaggerating. This is literally what happens every. single. day.)
There’s typically enough variety for me to find something that looks good. My only firm rule is that I’m NEVER allowed to try a dessert. They look delightful, but I’m fearful that once I start having dessert, I’ll never stop.
After meeting at the checkout, we go to find a seat together. I ALWAYS aim for a spot by the windows. The view is too good to sit in the middle of the canteen.
So you can see how fabulous the meals are, here are some photos I took over the past couple of months to show you what I’m eating at lunchtime…
[Don’t remember what this was, but it was something from the vegetarian counter.]
[My default when I can’t decide what to get…Veal sausage & french fries]
You may notice that I always have two water glasses. They are SO SMALL, and I’m still not accustomed to them!
[One of the other things I never get? Wine. But, yes, it’s available.]
Once in awhile, there’s an excuse to eat in the restaurant downstairs. This is typically only for special occasions or when an outside agency visits. I took my most recent opportunity in the restaurant to try horsemeat steak. Yes, you read that correctly. In Switzerland, they eat horse. It’s actually available on the grill every day, but so far I’ve only been able to eat it once.
And even less frequently, there’s an opportunity to eat lunch at the Nestle International Training facility (Rive Reine). I led a session last month, and I was so excited to find out we would be having lunch outside. It was a bonus that it was such a perfect day!
And finally, there’s the occasional lunch with some kind of theme taking place. I don’t know what the theme was on this particular day, but there was definitely an accordion playing and a man juggling. How does that scene not put a smile on your face?!
So, if you’re ever in Vevey at lunchtime, you know where to come. I would love to schedule a lunch with you!