Lifestyle & Culture

The Chefs and Restaurants Leading the Way on Sustainability

Global Shakers has identified 10 food lovers, based at restaurants and organisations across the world, combining high-quality meals with love for their local environments.

18.06.2019 | by Christy Romer
Food at Narisawa. Photo by Fine Dining Lovers
Food at Narisawa. Photo by Fine Dining Lovers

In the world many of us live in, it’s often easier and cheaper to buy food shipped half-way around the world than to find something produced naturally nearby. But, this is inherently unsustainable, putting extra pressure on a global industry crippled by drought, over-exploited land and general water scarcity, and leading to enormous implications for the crops we’re able to grow and the food we’re able to eat.

In response, similar to initiatives to recognise work to tackle drought and desertification, the United Nations has set aside one day a year—today, 18th June—to celebrate people championing a sustainable approach to gastronomy.

Global Shakers has selected 10 people working in the food industry that are actively committed to ensuring that the meals we eat not only avoid damaging the environment, but also help to build community and support local produce.

No to shipping over cheap products grown intensively in artificial environments; Yes to paying suppliers properly, eating seasonal products and eliminating the use of chemical sprays.

The list includes Eneko Atxa, the young, earring-clad chef from Spain’s Basque country who runs Azurmendi—widely considered one of the best and most sustainable restaurants in the world. Everything about the restaurant is designed to be kind to the environment: The building is made from recycled materials, it’s heated by geothermal power, the food is sourced and composted locally. Nothing is off limits—even the rainwater is reused!

Organic gardening and sustainable cuisine champion Alice Waters set up a little restaurant, Chez Panisse, in 1971. The San Fran building has become a world-renowned institution, welcoming foodie pilgrimage after foodie pilgrimage. Through her restaurant work and as an outspoken advocate for sustainable food in schools, Waters has been granted numerous awards—including the Global Environmental Citizen Award, a prize she shared with the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

What about Yoshihiro Narisawa, the chef so in tune with the natural world that he’s earned two Michelin stars for pioneering dishes such as ‘Soil Soup’ and ‘Water Salad’? Or Virgilio Martínez, the chef behind the ‘most talked about dining experience’ in Latin America, hidden behind Inca ruins in the mists of the Andes Mountains? Or the graffiti-artist-turned-chef taking Paris by storm; the charismatic innovator providing “food without borders” in Australia; or the 22-year-old student bringing affordable vegan food to Brooklyn, New York?

Read more about these people—and their groundbreaking commitment to sustainability—here!

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