The environmental elite

13 Sep 2015
2 min read
With renowned chefs such as Raymond Blanc believing fervently that sustainability is just important as Michelin stars in order for a restaurant to be at the top of its game, as well as the World’s 50 Best partnering with the Sustainable Restaurant Association for the third time in a row this year, are standards slowly changing the way in which top restaurants are rated? FOUR takes a look at the most highly rated fine dining restaurants in terms of their commitment to sustainability…
The environmental elite

For three years running the World’s 50 Best have teamed up with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to help celebrate and promote more environmental and social responsibility within top international restaurants. The Sustainable Restaurant Award is given out based on a restaurants commitment and dedication to producing high quality food, a positive contribution to the community, whilst also causing as little damage to the environment as possible.

This year’s winner was #45 in the World’s 50 Best list, restaurant Relae in Copenhagen. With head chef, having worked in the cutting edge kitchens of El Bulli and Noma, it is no surprise that his ethos on what it takes to be unique dining experience sets the barriers a little higher. Every last inch of the restaurant has been thoughtfully considered from the layout of the restaurant, service, and food, to waste, energy efficiency and its contribution to the wider local community.

This commitment to its social and environmental responsibility means that more than 90% of the ingredients that Relae uses are sourced directly from suppliers who have been certified as using fully organic methods of production. Christian also personally ensures that the fish he uses is sustainable, that basic products such as salt and sugar are Fair-trade and haven’t been chemically processed.

The impact on the environment is also kept as minimal as possible, with the use of recycled furniture and furnishings throughout the restaurant, low-impact LED fixtures, induction cooking appliances, and deliveries to and from the restaurant being carried about by bicycle.Just when you thought they could do no more, Relae also recycles all of its food waste by passing it on to be used for compost at a local organic nursery, they offer a local schools programme to promote healthy eating and paid cooking placements for culinary students. What more could you ask for from your local gourmet restaurant?

Top rated restaurants

Currently the top-rated restaurants for their dedication to sustainability according to the 50 Best list and SRA’s Global Sustainability Rating are last years winner, #19 Azurmendi, Spain. The restaurant, which is owned and run by 3 Michelin star chef, , sources much of its produce from their very own gardens, or from the rooftop greenhouse. When this isn’t possible, the local producers are the next port of call, ensuring the finest free range, organic, and sustainable supplies for the menu. Azurmendi is have also started a pioneering project to help maintain and preserve a number of threatened varieties of vegetables, so that they can once again thrive on not just the menu at the restaurant, but for future generations to come.

With this restaurant being more or less totally self-sufficient it produces 90% of the geothermal energy it requires to heat and irrigate the land. It has sustainability at the centre of its ethos and continues to strive for fine dining from a holistic point of view.

Other restaurants include #42 Boragó in Chile, #49 and 1 Michelin star restaurant from chef , Blue Hill at Stone Barns USA, 3 Michelin star and #48 on the World’s Best list, Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland headed up by chef , and Vendôme, Germany, which came in at #30 this year and retains its 3 Michelin starred head chef, .