Friday 22nd April is Earth Day 2022 and the theme for this year is 'Invest in Our Planet'.
Investing in our planet is about everyone – on an individual level, as well as governments and businesses – playing their part when it comes to embracing sustainability.
Earth Day serves as a reminder to the hospitality industry that sustainable gastronomy matters more than ever, so whether its cooking what’s in season, sourcing local produce, decking out their restaurant with reclaimed furniture or better managing their waste, UK restaurants have the opportunity to be leaders when it comes to minimising their impact on the planet.
The MICHELIN Green Star was launched in the UK and Ireland in 2021 with the aim of recognising chefs and restaurateurs who are at the forefront of promoting sustainable practices in the kitchen. In that first year, 23 restaurants received the accolade and, in 2022, that number grew to 31.
These 31 restaurants in the UK and Ireland prove that gastronomic excellence does not need to come at the cost of our environment, as they succeed in offering dining experiences that combine culinary merit with outstanding eco-friendly commitments.
Here we take a closer look at some of our MICHELIN Green Star restaurants and what they are doing to hold themselves accountable when it comes to investing in our planet:
Henry Robertson – Palé Hall, Llandderfel, Wales
This elegant restaurant is set within the Palé Hall Hotel, with a lovely view of its garden. Menus reflect the seasons, and the local larder is very much to the fore – including much produce grown using their own compost in the kitchen garden and estate. Their on-site hydro-electric plant provides carbon-neutral energy to power the entire hotel, and they foster their sustainability culture with an incentive scheme, awarding points for individual merit, including innovative contributions to improve efficiency.
The chef's commitment: “We have an on-site hydro-electric plant, the team wear uniforms made from recycled plastic and we have an incentive scheme for innovative contributions to reduce our carbon footprint. We grow organic herbs, veg and fruit using our own compost.”— Gareth Stevenson
Pine, East Wallhouses, Northumberland
Top quality Northumbrian ingredients inform the menu at this rustic restaurant: these come from their own kitchen garden, are foraged from the surrounding countryside, or sourced from small independent producers, farmers and growers. Every part of the plant, vegetable or animal is used; they make their own juices and tonics, and the shelves are full of jars preserving, fermenting and pickling different products. They also have a chicken coop and house a colony of native black honey bees.
The chef's commitment: “Our aim is to showcase the best organic and foraged Northumbrian produce while also educating diners on sustainable practices. Our native honey bees are an integral part of our farm and we are introducing homemade wild flower seed menus for guests to plant at home, so they can help the bees too.”— Cal Byerley
Chef Interview: Cal Byerley, Winner of a MICHELIN Green Star and One MICHELIN Star
Loam, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Chef-owner Enda McEvoy has long led the way when it comes to sustainable practices. He takes his inspiration from the countryside and waters around Galway and, over the years, has developed close relationships with farmers, hunters and fishermen. The team buys whole animals and embraces a zero-waste policy, turning fish and meat scraps into garums and stocks; vegetable scraps into miso and ferments, and composting what is left. The menu is purposely kept small and changes regularly in order to reduce food waste. They also preserve ingredients through pickling and fermentation to ensure their availability out of season.
The chef's commitment: “All ingredients are sourced from local farms, and we follow a zero-waste, nose-to-tail and leaf-to-root ethos. We adhere to seasonality; support local farmers and fishermen; and use renewable energy sources. We also help educate students at local schools.”— Enda McEvoy
Inver, Strachur, Scotland
With an MSc in Food Policy, and experience working for both food charities and campaign groups, chef-owner Pamela Brunton has always held ethical and environmental considerations close to her heart, so it’s no surprise to find that sustainable practices are legion at this former crofter’s cottage and boat store. Fish and shellfish come from the loch, while meats and dairy produce come from local farms, who work for the welfare of the land as well as that of the animals. Vegetable-based dishes feature highly and, where meats are used, nothing goes to waste, with everything from the brains to the bones utilised in one way or another.
The chef's commitment: “Sustainability is the ground on which we build our business; it’s much more than a ‘subject’ to us. The people, landscape, plants and animals that guide and shape our menus are an ecosystem, in which we are one evolving part. If they don’t thrive, neither can we.”— Pamela Brunton
We take a closer look at Inver in Scotland – one of the UK’s most sustainable restaurants
Silo, Hackney Wick, London
This laid-back restaurant has a closed-loop system, meaning that they manage to make their menu work without the use of a bin. They have a strong bias towards plant-based dishes and a leaf-to-root/nose-to tail ethos. They have their own flour mill, churn their own butter and make their own oat milk. They trade directly with farmers and turn leftovers into compost in their aerobic digester. All furniture and fittings are recycled, with glass bottles turned into plates and table tops made from reconstituted food packaging.
The chef's commitment: “We are the world’s first zero-waste restaurant and aim to innovate the food industry whilst demonstrating respect: respect for the environment, respect for the way food is generated and respect for the nourishment we give to our bodies.”— Douglas McMaster
Silo, Hackney Wick, London – England’s only zero-waste, closed-loop restaurant
Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick, Cornwall
This cosy, rustic barn conversion is set on a working farm, where they grow and rear produce including Mangalitsa pigs, Aylesbury ducks and Le Flèche chickens. Animals are rotated through pasture and cover crops sown to encourage biodiversity. They also have their own sourdough bakery and harvest honey from their own hives. Food waste is used as compost in the garden and cardboard waste is used for mulching. Their hyper-seasonal surprise menus provide the ultimate field-to-fork experience.
The chef's commitment: “We grow and rear produce on our 66-acre farm following regenerative agriculture methods, including successional cover crop sewing. We also have a no-dig vegetable garden, use compost from our food waste, and make guest soap out of lard from our pigs.”— Oscar Holgado
What is a MICHELIN Green Star?
9 Restaurants Awarded a Green Star in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2022