Sustainable Gastronomy Day: 7 chefs talk of their sustainable gastronomy practices - Hindustan Times
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Sustainable Gastronomy Day: 7 chefs talk of their sustainable gastronomy practices

By, Delhi
Jun 18, 2024 01:14 PM IST

Chefs across the world are now including sustainability as best practice - reducing carbon footprint, sourcing local produce, planting their own herb gardens.

If ‘Food Waste’ were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of CO2 after China and the US. Each year 1.3 billion tons of food worth approximately US$1 trillion is wasted. Around 1.4 billion hectares of agricultural land and nearly 250 square kilometres of freshwater is used to produce this ‘wasted’ food. Cutting global food waste in half by 2030 is one of the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

On Sustainable Gastronomy Day, 7 chefs from around the world talk of their sustainability practices and the most sustainable dish on their menu.(Unsplash)
On Sustainable Gastronomy Day, 7 chefs from around the world talk of their sustainability practices and the most sustainable dish on their menu.(Unsplash)

On Sustainable Gastronomy Day, 7 chefs from around the world talk of their sustainability practices and the most sustainable dish on their menu.

Executive Chef Christian Herrgesell (Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand):

Executive Chef Christian Herrgesell (Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand)
Executive Chef Christian Herrgesell (Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand)

One of our key initiatives is growing organic, indigenous herbs within the chef’s garden. We source drinking water from the natural water spring that flows from the nearby Naga Mountain. We source seafood, fresh produce, herbs and ingredients from local farms, fishing villages by the Andaman Sea. We also have implemented composting to dispose of food scraps and organic waste and organise educational programs and initiatives to raise awareness among our staff and guests about reducing food waste.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

Lobster Salad with Papaya and Sambal Manis: Served in our fine dining restaurant Lae Lay, this dish is 100% inspired by the local products and flavours of the Krabi province. The lobsters are sourced from local fisheries and the Sambal Manis paste is handcrafted using chillies grown in our garden, along with lime leaves and lemongrass.

Executive Chef Eric Fettke (Shangri-La Muscat, Muscat, Oman):

Executive Chef Eric Fettke (Shangri-La Muscat, Muscat, Oman)
Executive Chef Eric Fettke (Shangri-La Muscat, Muscat, Oman)

Shangri-La’s ‘Rooted in Nature’ initiative ensures that we collaborate with suppliers who adhere to sustainable practices. For example, our seafood is sourced from local certified sustainable fishing families, ensuring we do not contribute to overfishing or damage the delicate marine ecosystems. We also prioritise organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables from local farms wherever possible. We try to minimise our kitchen’s carbon footprint by implementing strategies like waste audits. We adopt a nose-to-tail approach for meat and root-to-stem system when preparing vegetables. For example, vegetable peels and trimmings are turned into stocks and sauces. We partner with local farmers who grow traditional Omani crops such as dates and pomegranates, apricots, grapes, peaches, walnuts, bananas, rose petals and various local herbs like Frankincense.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

Seafood salad at Capri Court. The seafood is sourced locally and includes toppings and garnishes from the ocean, such as edible local seaweeds. Rich in iron and healthy fats, the salad is low in fat, containing only beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

Executive Chef Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE):

Executive Chef Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE)
Executive Chef Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE)

I am passionate about promoting the use of indigenous ingredients such as local dates and desert herbs. We practice zero-waste cooking by planning, batch cooking whenever feasible, getting creative with one-pot meals, and reducing waste through recycling. We also manage edible waste - carrot tops become pesto, broccoli stems morph into slaw and even apple cores can be transformed into jams or vinegar. Any unavoidable food waste is composted, which not only reduces landfill waste but also provides nutrient-rich compost for local farms.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

Vegetarian Lasagna features layers of fresh, locally sourced vegetables chosen for their minimal environmental impact and high nutritional value. We use organic whole wheat pasta and a homemade tomato sauce. This dish has a low carbon footprint - just 0.4kg CO2e per serving.

Group Executive Chef, Sumudu Kadawata (Teardrop Hotels, Sri Lanka):

Group Executive Chef, Sumudu Kadawata (Teardrop Hotels, Sri Lanka)
Group Executive Chef, Sumudu Kadawata (Teardrop Hotels, Sri Lanka)

Sustainability efforts at Teardrop Hotels includes prioritising locally sourced ingredients from farms and suppliers that are geographically closer to our hotels to reduce our food miles. Wallawwa, and each of our tea bungalows - Camellia Hills, Goatfell and Nine Skies - grows its own pesticide-free herbs, fruit, and vegetables, which ensures freshness and reduces the environmental impact of importing out-of-season produce.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

Young Jackfruit and Cashew Curry is among the most sustainable dishes at Wallawwa, due to being entirely plant-based, and its use of hyper-local ingredients like jackfruit, spices, and fresh coconut. The young jackfruit is grown in Wallawwa's own vegetable garden and the cooking process involves a light tempering of ingredients which include onions, garlic, curry leaves along with a blend of spices before being slow cooked in fresh coconut milk, over a low flame.

Corporate Chef Siddhesh Parab (Spiceklub, Cupertino, California, USA):

Corporate Chef Siddhesh Parab (Spiceklub, Cupertino, California, USA)
Corporate Chef Siddhesh Parab (Spiceklub, Cupertino, California, USA)

Embracing vegetarian sustainable gastronomy is both a passion and a challenge. We use slow cooking, which enhances the depth of flavours in vegetables. Utilising seasonal ingredients not only supports local farmers but also ensures that our dishes are fresh and environmentally friendly. We compost kitchen waste to enrich the soil for our herb garden, thus closing the loop of sustainability.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

Plant-based Seekh kebab. The process of making seekh kebab involves clay pot cooking sustainably sourced mushroom with a blend of spices, cilantro and garlic, allowing the flavours to develop naturally without the need for excessive energy consumption.

Executive Chef Daniel Hiller (Group Culinary Director in Al Habtoor City, Dubai):

Executive Chef Daniel Hiller (Group Culinary Director in Al Habtoor City, Dubai)
Executive Chef Daniel Hiller (Group Culinary Director in Al Habtoor City, Dubai)

We use products which are farmed locally and we do all we can to reduce imported items. Bringing a lot of imported meat & fish into your kitchen necessarily reduces how sustainable it is. If you're cooking with a lot of meat every single day, it doesn't matter how sustainable your cooking practices are, you’re going to have a much bigger environmental impact and a bigger carbon footprint than somebody who's cooking with significantly less meat in their diet.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

In World Cut, we serve a signature salad using produce from the region’s finest hydroponic farms - fresh oak leaf is paired with crispy shitake mushrooms, parmesan and finished with a sesame and truffle dressing.

Chef Indika Bandara (Santani Wellness Kandy, Sri Lanka):

Chef Indika Bandara (Santani Wellness Kandy, Sri Lanka)
Chef Indika Bandara (Santani Wellness Kandy, Sri Lanka)

Our on-site organic farm is meticulously managed using organic farming practices that avoid synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, promoting soil health and biodiversity. Seasonal vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers are grown here. When certain ingredients are not available on-site, we partner with local farmers who adhere to sustainable farming practices, ensuring that all produce is responsibly sourced.

Signature Sustainable Dish:

Herb Crust Rack of Lamb that includes quinoa risotto, stuffed avocado croissant and a crunchy pumpkin flavour served with roasted lamb jus. This dish embodies the principles of sustainability through its sourcing, preparation, and overall impact.

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