Unconscious food production is increasing social injustice and inequality, jeopardising our health and ability to feed our future selves, and threatening our wildlife and the planet.
We need to do more than just ‘sustaining’ our planet. We must instead replenish and regenerate, a system that respects limits and has sustainability at its core. Sustainable cuisine address both “sustainability on the plate” and “sustainability beyond the plate,” particularly in terms of water, waste, and energy efficiencies; using food products grown, harvested, processed, packaged and shipped or distributed with the minimal environmental impact and carbon footprint.
What can we urge hotel chefs to do that will help us all eat fabulous food sustainably?
Source their ingredients locally, seasonally and organically wherever possible, and grown their own.
Serve less meat, and ensure the meat they do serve comes from sustainable, small-scale and local farms rather than from industrial-led channels. We are eating more meat than we can sustainably produce, and industrial farming methods are responsible for huge global inequalities.
Serve fewer dairy products, consider cutting beef from the menu, and offer viable, interesting alternatives to both. Beef is one of the most inefficient uses of resources on the planet. When they belch and fart, cows also emit the greenhouse gas methane, which has a 23 times higher negative impact on climate than carbon dioxide.
Serve less fish, and when they do serve it, choose sustainably sourced breeds. Even then, be mindful that fish are attracted to eating the plastic microbes in our polluted seas. See our feature on Freezing The Footprint on Fish.
Serve wildly more imaginative vegan and vegetarian menus, and know that vegan products can be unsustainable too. Nuts used in almond milk production, for example, are mostly grown in drought-hit California, and need millions of litres of water to be produced.
Use leftovers creatively, and stop throwing food away. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted each year—four times the amount needed to feed the more than 800+ million people who are malnourished.
For more information, check out The Sustainable Food Trust.