Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Committed to changing the way we look at cancer by using Gastronomy to fight against the disease and as a vector of happiness, pleasure and hope.
"As long as there's joy, there's life. As long as there's Gastronomy, there's life."
The non-profit organization TLMC (Tout Le Monde contre le Cancer, translated as ‘Everybody Against Cancer’), was created in 2005 under the impetus of Nicolas Rossignol. One day as a journalist on French TV, Nicolas made a report on a child suffering from cancer. Touched by this encounter, Nicolas decided to take a radical turn in his career and to throw himself, body and soul, into the association that he presides over today. With TLMC he defends strong values by accompanying the families of children affected by cancer. TLMC has acted numerous times throughout France: nearly 1000 in 170 hospitals per year. Among these, there is Toques en Truck (translated as ‘Chef’s hat in a food truck’), a solidarity gastronomic operation that mobilizes renowned talented Chefs who cook for the good.
The first time I met Nicolas Rossignol in my life, I knew he was a special person. If I was immediately seduced by his singing accent from the South of France, it was above all his positive energy that inspires you and animates you. He is the one who draws colors in any stormy sky. Rather than making minutes of silence, Nicolas Rossignol, makes minutes of noise in the hope that, from up there, the little angels can hear them. His benevolence and talent make him a human being apart from any other. It is thus quite natural that nearly 55 talented starred Chefs have put their trust in him by responding favorably to his call. They share their know-how, their passion and their love of taste with all these little children suffering.
Zoom on this extraordinary initiative and its many ambassadors who are none other than Dominique Crenn, Alain Passard, Yves Camdeborde, Benjamin Brial, Guillaume Gomez, Simone Zanoni and many others...
Thank you for this lesson of Humanity and Welcome, Nicolas, TLMC volunteers and Chefs to Chefs for Impact!
By Nicolas Rossignol as told to Chefs for Impact
Where did the idea of associating Gastronomy with the cause you defend with TLMC come from?
“The strength and originality of TLMC is to hold two seminars per year during which we bring together all our correspondents from each of the 170 hospitals we support. The goal is to exchange the best practices and take stock of our actions. Among the subjects covered, Food very quickly became at the heart of the requests. Hospital catering being neither renowned for its taste nor its appeal… This is how Toques en Truck came into being, 5 years ago, through these exchanges and with the aim of restoring pleasure in food in a painful everyday life. We imagined a food truck that would travel, with all the kitchen and dining room equipment, to 35 hospitals in France from May to July to feed sick children in partnership with Michelin-starred chefs. One of our missions is to provide pleasure through taste and smell (or, failing that, crispness) which is often lost through chemotherapy. The food truck, a victim of its own success, often pushes the doors of hospital departments to serve a wider public that does not stop at pathology or age groups. The lives of these people are unfortunately lacking in joy, color and taste. Through our actions, we try, in all humility, to create moments of conviviality and restore the desire to live and share moments of happiness.”
How's a day with Toques en Truck going?
“We bring the restaurant to the hospital by making the hospital catering cheerful, tasty and friendly. We travel all over France to come and feed, welcome and serve our little patients. The day begins with a brunch prepared by our Michelin starred chefs for the nursing staff only where the night shift and the day shift meet for a pure moment of conviviality. Shortly afterwards, the children arrive with their invitation cards, very excited. Time for the Gastronomic lunch in the food truck! We welcome them as if they were in a restaurant with colorful setting to give them a real festive experience. Especially because we are face to face with fragility and suffering, at this very moment, we are simply a supplier of joy! We have served up to 300 meals in one operation! Families are delighted because it is also an opportunity - which they never have in hospital - to sit around a table for a family meal. In the afternoon, we organize the competition for the best little pastry chef in the hospital (don't tell anyone but everyone receives the winning diploma!) hosted by a renowned pastry chef. Sometimes we have children who are seriously or even terminally ill and are physically unable to speak. In this case, the eyes speak for themselves. Seeing those shining stars and those little smiles is the reason why I get up every morning to do what I do. My victory is if, at the end of the day I have managed to bring one minute of happiness into the life of a sick child, that is the greatest reward.”
What is the involvement of the Chefs at Toques en Truck?
“The Chefs feel very committed to their mission and take their role to heart. They are very generous and faithful because they accompany us from one year to the next and often ask for more! A total of 55 Michelin starred Chefs have accepted to come voluntarily, sometimes even with their brigades. Some of them are closing their restaurants especially for this operation. On this day, the stars are not the ones you think they are. For a day, these star chefs become simple cooks who serve meals to the stars of the hospital. At Toques en Truck the stars are those who fight against the disease on a daily basis: the patients, their families, caregivers and nursing staff. The menu is always prepared according to the children's requests and most of the time the winner is….: the burger! The Chefs then revisit this recipe by adding their personal touch while working hand in hand with the hospital's nutritionists and dietitians. They develop tasty recipes based on fresh and organic products. These operations take the Chefs out of their comfort zone from different points of view. Very often, we find them at the dishwasher or in the back of the truck, overwhelmed, facing the overflow of emotions.”
"This is part of our job. Our job is to cook and share our passion. Fed up with the individualism around us! Let's put the free gesture back in our society!
Life should always be like this! We never succeed alone. We should all get along and help each other. What could be more beautiful than a free gesture sent to each other?
Stop the society of overconsumption, individualism and selfishness! Each one of us, at our own level, let's simplify our society and bring common human sense back in our lives!"
- Chef Yves Camdeborde, Patron of "Toques en Truck"-
What's the future of Toques en Truck?
“We would like to have a start-up incubated in the non-profit in order to develop the concept so that it could run year-round to meet the growing need of hospitals. Why not a hybrid model that could run both in hospitals and in companies? I would like to find a virtuous model that is self-financing.”
Did Toques en Truck bring vocations to life?
“Yes! Let's take the example of Garance, who came from Martinique to be treated in Metropolitan France. In addition to the Toques en Truck operation, this little girl was one day able to go backstage at Top Chef, thanks to us, where she discovered her passion for pastry. Garance will one day be a pastry chef, that's for sure!”
Thank you, Nicolas, for everything you do!
"You're kidding, there's a selfish approach to what I do. Beyond giving, I gain a lot in personal satisfaction. I live crazy and unique moments. Just think about this: bringing one minute of happiness into someone's life? »
Learn more about Tout Le Monde contre le Cancer and Toques en Truck : https://toutlemondecontrelecancer.com/actions/toques-en-truck/