Restaurants go sustainable
Top chefs care about farmers and the environment
Chefs around the world are beginning to recognize the importance of small farmers, local produce and biodiversity – because without great ingredients the culinary arts would collapse. Check out this roundup of interesting chefs who are serving up delicious “sustainable” meals.
Lawyer-turned-chef Virgilio Martinez can be found roaming Lima’s bustling farmers’ markets in search of unusual vegetable varieties. This top Peruvian chef is rediscovering his country’s delicious cuisine in a way that also promotes sustainability. Martinez celebrates and captures the region’s extraordinary biodiversity in the delicious dishes he serves at his restaurant, Central. Martinez regularly seeks out farmers and sources new ingredients for his menu. He’s even trying his hand at growing some food with a rooftop herb garden for the restaurant.
When she opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California in 1971, Alice Waters changed how many Americans think about food. What brought Alice Waters to fame was not just the cooking but her insistence on fresh, organic, locally grown and seasonal ingredients. She even sourced some of her produce from nearby prison gardens and her own backyard. She has been active in implementing school gardens and school lunch programs in the United States to improve childhood nutrition and encourage a love of fresh food from an early age. “Good food should be a right, not a privilege,” says Waters.
Tokyo-based chef Narisawa has secured the number one spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 for his restaurant Narisawa. He emphasizes sustainability by using only local and seasonal Japanese ingredients that are then prepared with a blend of French and Japanese culinary techniques. In 2012, Narisawa took part in a Cook it Raw event in Italy where he had to cook a meal based on local and foraged ingredients during the winter. Narisawa wants to put his diners back in touch with nature, and he encourages cooking with natural and fresh ingredients and visits to the countryside.
Growing up on a farm in New Zealand, Ben Shewry knew from an early age that food was more than just something to eat. His family didn’t have much money but they raised animals, grew vegetables, foraged for edible plants, hunted and fished. It gave him a respect for nature and a desire to present his sensibility on the plate for others to share. Shewry, chef of the world-renowned Attica restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, produces meals that have a connection to the land, the people and the culture. He uses local plants known only by the indigenous people and harvests edible wild plants himself. In his cookbook, Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry, he details his personal arguments for sustainability, ethical treatment of animals and responsible consumption.