Charline Fournier’s portrait

Cooking : a commitment

At the Estey Social and Cultural Center in Bègles, a town of 27,000 inhabitants near Bordeaux, Charline Fournier has developed two particularly singular initiatives around cuisine: the Bistrot and the Bistrot mobile. Two projects between conviviality and social integration. Because cooking is a commitment.  

With parents who ran a boarding house, there is no doubt that Charline was immersed in the world of catering from an early age. However, when the time came to choose her studies, the young woman, sensitive to the values of solidarity and mutual aid, optes more willingly for the profession of socio-cultural animator. She is particularly interested in popular education and citizenship but also in entrepreneurship. First of all in the Médoc, a rural and wine-growing area of the Gironde, which is prestigious in terms of wines but where the population is experiencing great social and economic difficulties. Charline creates a travelling toy library in the street. “Mobility is ingrained in me. In order to reach people, I have always gone through homelessness and off the streets” explains the young woman, whose other credo is the participation of the inhabitants in the projects. “This has always been close to my heart. I like that people are not mere spectators but actors of who they are and what they do”. 

Food and cooking at the heart of Estey’s social project

When Charline was recruited a little more than eight years ago at the Estey Social and Cultural Center, it was to create a toy library: “I came here for the game” she says with a mischievous look in her eyes. Once the project was on track, Charline, who doesn’t like routine, took two years of availability to create Le Café des familles in Bacalan, a popular district of Bordeaux. This café has the particularity of being mobile so that it can reach as many families in the neighbourhood as possible, as close as possible to where they live. At the same time, she founds the Minidettes, a food truck imagined with a friend. In addition to the daily management of the food truck, Charline discovers a great interest in cooking. 

Two years later, when she returned to the Estey, a bistro was set up there but no one in the team can take care of it anymore. “I was asked if I wanted to take care of it. That’s where the adventure started. I need projects so I don’t get bored, so I put the existing bistro to my liking! “says Charline with the enthusiasm that characterizes her. 

She starts by rethinking the decoration with a group of inhabitants. Fresh and colourful, the bistro now has a little “cosy chic” side that is particularly appreciated by the guests. At the same time, she brings together a group of very active volunteers (there are six of them today) who are interested in a “cooking” project in the social center. She develops an “integration” component by creating two posts intended for people wishing to train and find a job: one as a kitchen assistant, the other in catering service. The values of the restaurant are also those of Charline “solidarity, transmission, mutual aid”. 

Once the bistro is set up and because Charline likes to imagine itinerant projects, she launches a mobile version of the bistro: the famous Bistrot mobile. This street food project, which allows young people who are sometimes a little lost to find their way, is such a success that Charline is already imagining a new stage in the rocket…

Practical information

Bistrot et Bistrot mobile de l’Estey

20 rue Pierre et Marie Curie
33130 Bègles

Tel +33 (0)5 57 35 13 00

© Sonia Moumen (exchange reporter) for Champs Libres, member of Kus Alliance France

This post is also available in: FrenchGermanPortuguese (Portugal)

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