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In my view: Bitya Shalev FCSI

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The Tel Aviv-based consultant works with Systhema Global Foodservice Consultants. She tells Michael Jones about loving nature and learning from Gandhi

I am a certified interior designer, I have a BA degree in psychology and sociology, specialising in customer behaviour, and a master’s degree in environmental studies. In my work I combine all three areas. For the last five years I have been helping businesses better understand sustainability while still maintaining a growing and successful business.

The foodservice sector is fascinating as it deals with two big human passions, food and art, combining it with more serious areas such as technology and economy. It is a vast realm where everybody can find something that interests them.

I couldn’t decide for years what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a child I loved to read, I wrote poetry, played piano, danced and loved nature. Today I still do all that, but as hobbies. I found my fulfilment in the foodservice world.

In 1986 I was working as an interior designer, specialising in hotel design, so the area of foodservice was familiar to me. In 1996 I opened my own firm and moved into consultancy. Then in 2002 I met my husband, who, at that time, managed one of Israel’s big foodservice firms. Suddenly I found an area that ticks all the boxes of what I live to do – art and design, food, technology and machinery, economy and business, consumer behaviour and much more.

Five years ago, my love of mother earth led me to pursue my second degree in sustainability and I immediately understood the importance of this subject to the foodservice sector.

FCSI is the only society for foodservice professionals around the world. Many places demand FCSI membership as a sign of professionalism.

The biggest challenge for the sector right now is sustainability. I am currently writing specifications for the biggest cities in Israel to remove all the disposable dishes from schools and kindergartens and replace them with reusable dishes and dishwashers. It is not a choice anymore, it is a must.

I’ve had many teachers. My mother taught me to be precise and meticulous. From my professors at the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University I learnt about the global environmental crisis, but the most important lesson I learnt was from Mahatma Gandhi – the lesson of love to all.

I’m easily bored so I need to move around and change the scenery. My best relaxation is visiting my grandchildren.

Michael Jones