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THE INTELLIGENCE TALKBACKThree foodservice professionals give their views on one question


John Reed, foodservice consultant, US The term ‘sustainability’ is a vague word in the complex world of a restaurant or foodservice operation. The public perception ranges from using sustainable ingredients to energy use. However, those two elements are not the only aspects that make a restaurant sustainable. It also encompasses hiring, operational and fi nancial sustainability. Our approach to sustainability and


growth in our business is to look at every aspect of what we make, where we buy from and how we present it to our customer. We ask ourselves, do our current and potential customers want to return and buy the same thing, hoping they will purchase other products of the same or higher quality. We support locally produced ingredients, adapting to seasonality and availability on the day. It’s our goal to utilize as much of the raw ingredient as possible, produce in smaller batches and reduce the need to bulk purchase. Minimalizing is a key to sustainability. Using less and storing less, means less demand up and down the line. Mass-produced large volume production benefi ts the industrial side of the business. That complex system doesn’t promote sustainability – only net gain. After the pandemic the supply chain


is a mess. We deal with shortages every day. If restaurants are dependent on bulk commodity items and don’t adapt, they can’t be sustainable.


Sam Buckley, chef, Where the light gets in, UK A sustainable restaurant takes into consideration the environment in which it exists and its impact on that environment. This includes everything from the atmosphere of the workplace, to ensure the team’s wellbeing, to its decisions of where to source produce and how to treat that produce so the relationship between farmer and kitchen is healthy, ethically minded and conscious of a fundamentally limited food source. Energy, at all times, must be considered to increase effi ciency and reduce irresponsible activity. We take communication seriously in our approach to sustainability at Where the light gets in. We listen to our team and consider suggestions. We ask ourselves if our processes are the most eff ective for our own health and for the health of our environment. We strive to maintain a healthy work/life balance.


Our processes evolve with our learning.


Our systems are rigorous and the elements that feel most eff ective are given more precedence. Eating together twice a day is vital for us. Recycling food waste back into our garden compost is a given, but we’re always trying to improve our approach. After the pandemic there seems to be a rise in support of independent businesses. People seem more connected to their creative sides with baking, gardening and crafting becoming popular. A comprehension of the necessity for quality time seems more present than ever.


What does sustainability mean to you?


Daniel Sia,


managing partner of The Coconut Club, Singapore At The Coconut Club, our approach to sustainability touches both the practice of our craft; sourcing, cooking and packaging, as well as how we engage our team and community. In addition to buying ingredients that are grown locally or nearby (in Malaysia), we try to reduce food waste in the production process, using as many parts of each vegetable or protein as possible to enrich fl avors and textures in our food. One of the most recent changes was to our homemade otah, a traditional recipe of charcoal-grilled fi sh paste, fresh fi sh and spices wrapped in banana leaf. We switched from using batang fi sh caught in Indonesia to kühlbarra barramundi farmed locally in Singapore. Our signature ayam goreng berempah (spicy fried chicken), the most popular item on the menu, is made with organic French poulets from local farmer Toh Thye San. As for packaging, we replaced our


plastic takeaway boxes with biodegradable boxes made of waxed cardboard and recyclable lids. Seeking greener packaging is a constant challenge, but something we do our best to prioritize. Striving for sustainability also applies to our people practices – from its inception The Coconut Club defi ed industry norms with our salary packages that started signifi cantly above the market rate. This was designed to make sure that even the most junior role in the restaurant off ered a liveable wage, making the job and career prospects in the F&B industry sustainable for our team members in the long run. This, in addition to a team culture that encourages everyone to embrace full self-expression in the spirit of hospitality, makes us proud that many on our team have been with us for many years.


17


DAN MURRELL


WORLDWIDE


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