Features 3 minutes 16 June 2023

Sustainable Gastronomy Day – 18th June

While the food industry might be leading the change, individually we all have a responsibility to play our part...

Editor's Pick Sustainability Zero Waste Gastronomy

Sustainable Gastronomy Day was first observed on 18th June 2017, led by the UN General Assembly, UNESCO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

But what is sustainable gastronomy?

It's all too common for sustainability buzzwords to be thrown around in everyday conversations, but what exactly does this term refer to? The FAO break it down in a thought-provoking way:

Gastronomy can be described as the style of cooking of a particular region; a cultural expression of the world’s natural and cultural diversity.

Sustainability, meanwhile, considers how to carry out processes in a way that is not wasteful of natural resources – and that can be continued into the future without any detrimental effects.

Sustainable Gastronomy, therefore, takes into account where ingredients are from, how they are produced and the methods by which they are delivered to local markets and, ultimately, our plates.

Wasted food also means wasted energy and resources.
Wasted food also means wasted energy and resources.

Sustainable Gastronomy in 2023

Despite heightened levels of awareness around sustainability in recent years, we have not yet moved forward quickly enough in terms of concrete action, and we continue to exploit our oceans, forests and soils during food production. Around one-third of all food produced globally also goes to waste – and it’s not just the food itself that is wasted when it goes uneaten; all of the money, labour, energy and resources (seeds, water, feed, etc.), that went into making it are lost too.

Celebrating local, seasonal ingredients and preserving the environment became more relevant than ever during the Covid 19 pandemic, which caused major interruptions to the global food chain. At the same time, we witnessed many smaller, independent producers stepping in to save the day, with a return to relying on local rather than internationally imported produce – and this greater emphasis on home-grown self-sufficiency remains something we should hold onto today.

It is clear that producers need to be more mindful about how they are using natural resources but we too, as consumers, need to be more selective about how we choose, prepare and consume our food. By working individually but with a common goal, we can have more of an impact than we might realise.

Shop locally, from small, independent producers and farmer's markets.
Shop locally, from small, independent producers and farmer's markets.

So, what can we do both at home and when dining out to help?

Support local producers
Buy from local food markets, small producers/farmers/fishermen or family businesses. As well as reducing production resources and the greenhouse gases associated with transport, you will be supporting their livelihoods, strengthening communities and helping to boost the regional economy. Look out for local produce on menus when eating out too, as this will also help increase local demand.

The same goes when you are on your travels… eating produce you may never have seen or heard of before will not only give you a better insight into the local culture but will support their local economy as well.

Eat seasonally
Follow the seasons when choosing which ingredients to buy or what to eat at a restaurant. This will not only help you enjoy better quality produce, grown naturally rather than in artificial or forced environments, but will help shift the buying patterns of your local shops and restaurants. As an added bonus, it might also help you expand your diet by trying new things.

Keep culinary traditions alive
Our ancestors didn’t have access to the resources that we do today, so relied heavily on what nature could provide; thus, culinary traditions are generally quite sustainable. Try cooking recipes that use time-honoured crops and ingredients native to your region. You can help preserve your culinary roots by passing recipes down from generation to generation and keeping your unique culinary culture alive.

Avoid food waste
Use your ingredients wisely by maximising every part of the produce when cooking and incorporating any excess into following meals – and think about how you might be able to use any leftovers on your plate in subsequent meals too. Staying on top of expiry dates and being mindful of portion sizes are two of the easiest ways to begin saving natural resources.

Related Read: Chantelle Nicholson's Zero Waste Recipe for Sustainable Gastronomy Day

Save scraps and leftovers to incorporate into future meals.
Save scraps and leftovers to incorporate into future meals.

The Michelin Green Star

Sustainable Gastronomy Day is the perfect day to celebrate the Michelin Green Star. The Green Star highlights restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices. These restaurants hold themselves accountable both for their ethical and environmental standards, and offer dining experiences that combine culinary excellence with outstanding eco-friendly commitments.

The list of Green Star restaurants in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain and Ireland can be found below. Why not check them out next time you're in the area and see what creative things they're up to when it comes to their sustainable policies?

Click here to learn more about the Green Star: What is a Michelin Green Star?

Angela's, Margate
Apricity, London – See Green Star Focus Article
Black Swan, Oldstead
Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick
Crocadon, St Mellion – See Green Star Focus Video
CULTURE, Falmouth
Daylesford Organic Farm, Daylesford
Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a Belmond Hotel, Great Milton – See Green Star Focus Article and Video
(Click here to book a stay at this Michelin-recommended hotel)
L'Enclume, Cartmel
Marle, Heckfield
Moor Hall, Aughton
Oak, Bath
Osip, Bruton
Pensons, Tenbury Wells
Petersham Nurseries Café, Richmond, London
Pine, East Wallhouses
Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
Silo, Hackney, London
Terroir Tapas, Bournemouth
The Dining Room - Whatley Manor, Malmesbury
(Click here to book a stay at this Michelin-recommended hotel)
The Ethicurean, Wrington
The Small Holding, Kilndown
Tillingham, Peasmarsh
Where the Light Gets In, Stockport
Wilsons, Bristol
Inver, Strachur
CHAPTERS, Hay-on-Wye, Powys
Henry Robertson - Palé Hall, Llandderfel
(Click here to book a stay at this Michelin-recommended hotel)
Republic of Ireland
Kai, Galway


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