Author: Tom Tanner
Earlier this month, Darwin & Wallace, which runs seven banging bars across London, and boasts Three Stars from the SRA, won the Best Sustainable Pub Company award at The Publican Awards. We asked Executive Chef Simon Duff for the secret of their success…and how his chefs have gone cold turkey on clingfilm.
What in your eyes makes a bar sustainable?
Showing that you can run a sustainable yet profitable business while ensuring your core values are maintained throughout. Also; innovation, making the least impact on the environment, teamwork and determination from all involved.
What’s the one thing that makes your bars stand out from the crowd?
Each detail of our bars has sustainability at the heart of it from sourcing to processes. All of us involved believe in the importance of sustainability as the foundation of a successful business, no matter where you look.
Which dish on the menu best captures your ethos and why?
The House Salad is a dish that captures our ethos in so many ways. At its heart it is vegan, the ingredients change with the seasons and it links to other ingredients across the menu which we may grow in our kitchen gardens. It also looks beautiful and tastes amazing. The end product is great and satisfying, a well-priced dish that all can enjoy.
Rumour has it you’ve ditched clingfilm, how could home cooks follow suit?
Yes, we have gone cold turkey in our bars as it was the only way to cut the addiction. After seeing a food recycling site recently where they separate the plastic, it was revealed the only thing they can do to the plastic is bury or burn it. We decided to stop using this single-use plastic completely.
At home, you can get a set of nice reusable containers, some glass jars and beeswax wraps and you will never look back.
Who’s your food hero and why?
I get to meet some really amazing people in the food industry all the time. Anyone who is trying to do their bit no matter how big or small is making a big effort to change. Putting in the effort to do things better really inspires me.
Mel, our Managing Director, also inspired me. She is there everyday pinging across ideas, supporting my crazy ones and is always pushing us forward to be the best that we can and never rest on our laurels.