Young chefs must spread sustainability message, says top campaigner

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Thinkstock/Elena Elisseeva
Thinkstock/Elena Elisseeva

Related tags: Sustainability, Restaurant

The next generation of chefs has a responsibility to ensure future restaurants improve sustainability standards, chef and campaigner Arthur Potts Dawson has warned.

Speaking at a panel at The Restaurant Show this week (6 October) the Roux brothers trained chef explained that eco-friendly standards needed to become normalised across the sector, rather than in a select few restaurants.

“In 15 years’ time restaurants which are not sustainable will be questioned,” he said.

“The next generation has to build sustainability automatically. It can’t be ‘special’ anymore, it needs to be at the core of businesses."

He added that restaurants needed to do more to make eating sustainably accessible to the public.

“One issue is that sustainability is not attainable to most people in this country," he said.

"Restaurants need to take away the responsibility for sustainability from the consumer and make decisions for them.”

Veg led menus

Speaking at the same panel, Tristram Stuart, food waste activist and author, argued that restaurants needed to change the focus of their menus to promote sustainable eating.

“It’s about changing the food we eat as well as what we throw away,” he said.

“The biggest contribution to sustainability is reducing consumption of meat and dairy, which are the most resource intensive foods. This saves money as vegetables are always cheaper than meat.

“You have to remember that sustainability and luxury are not the same thing. People often associate organic, free range meat with sustainability, when it’s often the opposite."

Cost

Andrew Fishwick, owner of the Truscott Arms - the SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association) Sustainable Pub of the Year 2015 – told the panel that businesses needed more financial motivation to operate sustainably.

“It absolutely is expensive, for a lot of things you are penalised not incentivised [for being sustainable]," he said.

“There is higher initial capital investment, but the Truscott Arms is now 70 per cent more energy efficient, so you do get payback.”

He added that despite initial costs, the pub had been in profit for the last six months.

“We’re not going to be retiring any time soon,” he said.

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