MOVE over Michelin, there is a new kid in town. For years, the red restaurant guidebook and its numerous rivals have ruled the roost when it comes to suggesting where to eat out.
However, a new guide is changing the face of restaurant recommendations.
On Monday, the Sustainable Restaurant Awards will honour the UK eateries doing the most to manage the social and environmental impact of their operations.
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) awards are based on performance in three areas – society, environment and sourcing. In essence, that means choosing ethically-raised meat and sustainable fish, minimising waste and being energy and water efficient, and playing a bigger role by treating people fairly and encouraging healthy eating.
This year’s ceremony is at Borough Market in the foodie heart of London but despite that, the event has a distinctly Scottish feel.
“Scotland is a treasure trove of good food and Scottish restaurants and chefs are at the forefront of the sustainable food movement”, said SRA managing director Mark Linehan.
To prove the point, the awards lunch will be provided by three icons of Scottish food.
In the kitchen will be Carina Contini who uses more than 70 artisan producers to supply her Edinburgh restaurants and only serves free range beef, game, poultry, pork and lamb and local fish landed in Scottish ports by Scottish boats.
Also cooking will be Calum Richardson, who runs the award-winning Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven. Calum only serves fish from sustainable sources, uses compostable packaging and recycles all food waste. His shop is even painted with environmentally-friendly paint.
Completing the Scottish kitchen team in London will be Neil Forbes from Café St Honore who is a passionate supporter of the Slow Food movement and relies on a network of local and seasonal producers and foragers for supplies. Neil also does his own butchery, curing and preserving to cut waste and improve the sustainability of his restaurant.
All three of these businesses hold the SRA’s top three-star rating for sustainability, demonstrating exceptional commitment to the cause.
For an organisation that has only existed since 2009, the growth and development has been spectacular, proving beyond any doubt that good environmental credentials are an important business consideration, not just a niche interest.
If Michelin is the mark of great eating, the SRA guarantees food that is good for the planet and its people. Given the challenges we face in the years to come, that’s something we can no longer afford to ignore.