In today’s culinary landscape, concepts like zero-waste, sustainability, and supporting local farmers have become very common. It’s for a good reason, to be honest. Chefs at many upscale restaurants have accordingly upped their standards, sustainability-wise. Let’s take a look at 3 such chefs and what they’re up to:
This sous chef at Bengaluru’s Toast and Tonic believes in having sources and supply chains that support the production system the restaurant believes in. At the same time, they also minimise waste. Toast and Tonic’s seasonal menus feature raw jackfruit tacos during the monsoon, avarekai (broad beans), and bathua (a leafy vegetable) in winter, and rose apples on their cocktails and salads during summer. They also source Bandel cheese from Kolkata, Naga chilli from Nagaland, Perilla seeds from Shillong, and coffee from Coorg. This promises quality and supports small-scale food producers. “Consumers today are just as interested in learning about the food on their plates, asking questions about where it comes from and how it’s grown, thus, holding us accountable to these standards”, says Upmanyu.
Prateek has advocated for zero waste in kitchens through his wilderness to table restaurant, Masque. He ensures quality while serving an ingredient at its peak. He does this by deciding what the customers will eat, instead of it being the other way round. His team takes trips to places like Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand from where they pick out ingredients- like persimmons from the Himalayas. They then place the ingredients in the center of a 10 and 14-course menu. All other produce is sourced from a bio-intensive farm in Pune. “You don’t need to cook 200 dishes; instead work on creating responsible restaurants”, Sadhu believes.
Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar & Shalini Krishnan
They run the restaurant Edible Archives in Goa, where 95% of their produce comes from within a 20 km radius. Their cuisine-agnostic menu includes the best practices from across the country and checks for seasonal produce. They then design a menu around those factors. For instance, they make a special Saraswat Brahmin dish with ambadi. For those asking, it’s a sour, astringent fruit available in the Konkan region from November to January. After February, they replace the ambadi with fresh, seasonal raw mangoes. “When you know what’s on your plate pays for the wages of all involved in its production, then the least you can do is not waste it”, Chef Anumitra says.
Such girl boss moves, y’all. I’m rooting for you, we’re all rooting for you!