Sam Buckley’s trailblazing Stockport restaurant has championed sustainability since it launched in 2016 choosing to work directly with farmers and fishermen and tell their story on the plate.
The restaurant also sources produce from its own farm to ensure its team has a true understanding of what it means to work with the land. As a result, the availability of produce, weather patterns and sea conditions all dictate the menu, meaning there is no choice offered to diners, with the aim to offer guests a balanced menu ‘that both nourishes the body and sustains our eco-system’.
When the pandemic hit and lockdown struck, Buckley and his team were unable to gain access to the farm. Undeterred, he pushed even harder to retain Where The Light Gets In’s green credentials by creating a new one on the rooftop of a multistorey car park in Stockport town centre.
Called The Landing, the city farm is a collaborative community growing space designed and built in partnership with Manchester Urban Diggers, which provides produce for the restaurant and the local community as well as promotes food sovereignty, community engagement in local food systems and increased biodiversity. The space also means that the restaurant can now compost all the cardboard it receives.
Buckley’s sense of wellbeing naturally extends to his team, which does yoga once a week to lower inhibitions and heighten our awareness, he says. The yoga also helps straightens the team’s backs, which is important when you're hunched over a chopping board all week.
“For me sustainability means being able to keep something going long term,” says Buckley. “In that sense every business needs to be sustainable.”
“Chef-patron Sam Buckley exemplifies the fantastic steps many restaurants are taking not only to source and serve the finest ingredients with minimal impact on the environment, but he is also going a big step further by bringing together farmers, their customers and the wider community to find solutions to some of the most serious issues in our food system,” says Juliane Caillouette-Noble, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), which judged this year’s Sustainability Award.
More recently Buckley has opened bakery, deli, pottery, pizzeria and wine bar Yellowhammer in Stockport old town. Yellowhammer’s bakery supplies the bread for Where The Light Gets In, and shares the restaurant’s same commitment to supporting small, local producers and using whole ingredients. It also makes use of The Landing’s produce with dishes based on what is caught, harvested and slaughtered that day.