Saving the food system one plate at a time

We’ve launched a new campaign to give chefs worldwide a chance to demonstrate in food form how they’re contributing to a better food future.

One Planet Plate is a restaurant campaign to put sustainability on the menu – to help diners use the power of the appetite wisely. More than 1,000 restaurants are serving these mouth-watering manifestations of food for the future and they can all be found on our new website, which is also home to a treasure trove of dozens and dozens of recipes by chefs like Raymond Blanc, Skye Gyngell and Chantelle Nicholson.

All of these restaurants and chefs are responding to ever increasing demand for more sustainable options on the menu.

Two surveys conducted on behalf of the SRA, one by restaurant guide Harden’s, the other by National Union of Students, reveal very low levels of satisfaction with the social and environmental impact of the food on offer in UK restaurants.

Just 20% of those asked by Harden’s said they were satisfied with how ethical the food is on the menus of places they’ve eaten in recently, while even fewer, only 17% are satisfied with its impact on the environment.  The picture is similar amongst the students surveyed. Fewer than a quarter (24.8%) of students are satisfied with the environmental impact of the food on offer when they eat out, while fewer than one in three (30.4%) believe it’s meeting sufficient ethical standards.

Almost nine out of ten of those questioned by Harden’s (86%) said they thought restaurants should focus on creating a menu that helps them make sustainable choices.

As the consumer survey results demonstrate, faced with a full menu of dishes to choose from, it can be hard for even the most conscious diners to feel confident they’re making the right choice, even in the most ethical restaurant. A One Planet Plate is effectively the chef’s sustainable special – his or her recommendation.

Among the dozens of recipes shared by chefs are a number that designed to eliminate waste, including prawn head crispies (Moshi Moshi, London), sautéed oyster mushrooms (Harissa, Newcastle, made with mushrooms grown on coffee grounds) and bread soup with vegetable trimmings (Spring, London, using up stale bread). There are a number made with local ingredients including Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ home grown beetroot terrine and horseradish sorbet.

Among the dishes rethinking the role of meat on the plate are potted beef (Richard H Turner at Hawksmoor) and pressed pig and walnuts (James Golding at The PIG).

Nicholas Balfe, of Salon, has created the sustainable alternative to smashed avocado – broccomole, while Ottolenghi Head Chef David Bravo is serving up cured Chalkstream rainbow trout with pickled broccoli stems in its Islington restaurant – to highlight sustainable seafood.

SRA Chief Executive Andrew Stephen, said: “Our consumer surveys clearly demonstrate that diners are crying out for some simple signposting to help them. One Planet Plate gives chefs the chance to draw attention to one damned delicious dish that epitomises their ethos, and choosing it is a vote for the food future you want to see.”

Diners can play their part by snapping a picture of a One Planet Plate when they eat out and sharing it on social media using #oneplanetplate.

Tuck in!

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