Cotswold café and Caithness fish restaurant named Sustainable Restaurants of the YearTwo very different restaurants, 700 miles apart, but who share the same outstanding commitment to sustainability, have been named joint winners of the Sustainable Restaurant of the Year award in London yesterday (23 February).
Daylesford, which operates three organic cafés in the Cotswolds and Kensington, and The Captain’s Galley, Britain’s most northerly mainland restaurant that strictly serves seafood in season, received their awards from Raymond Blanc, President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
The winning restaurants demonstrate perfectly the democratisation of sustainable dining, offering diners the chance to eat well wherever they live and whatever their budget.
Jim Cowie worked as a fish trader for more than 30 years and had never so much as boiled an egg before opening his harbour-side restaurant in Scrabster, Caithness. He refuses to serve popular seafood items in his 18-seat restaurant, unless they are in season and in plentiful supply. This autumn, he is organising a sustainable seafood festival to help people better understand which fish to eat and enjoy.
Both restaurants launched in same year, 2002, with a mission to serve high quality food from ingredients produced with principles on their doorstep. Daylesford’s 2,000-acre organic farm provides the majority of the ingredients for its three cafes, in Kingham in Gloucestershire, Notting Hill and Pimlico, while the ocean outside the Captain’s Galley doors in Scrabster, serves as its larder.
Daylesford’s 2,000-acres organic farm provides the majority of the ingredients for its three cafes, in Kingham in Gloucestershire, Notting Hill and Pimlico. It shares the same passion for increasing public awareness about sustainability and has established its own foundation to educate children and young people in sustainable food, growing and farming.
Meanwhile, Star Bistro has been named The People’s Favourite, topping a poll of five restaurants shortlisted from more than 850 nominations. The Cheltenham restaurant offers customers a fine dining experience with immaculately soured ingredients, and people with physical and learning disabilities the chance to gain hugely valuable work experience both front of house and in the kitchen. It won the lion’s share of the public’s 10,000 votes.
Rob Rees, who founded Star Bistro, said: “This is an incredible endorsement of what we are doing at Star Bistro. Sometimes, with the challenges we have with our supply chain and with the people we are employing, we are on our knees and have to remember why we are doing this. This recognition is a huge motivator. And it’s fantastic to know we’re not alone – all of the restaurants on the shortlist are doing amazing things and it encourages me that this really is becoming the norm.”
Tom Kerridge, who worked as sous chef under Rob Rees at The Country Elephant for two years in the 1990s, said: “I’m so pleased for Rob and the team from Star Bistro, what a fantastic achievement all round, I know how much hard work and dedication these guys put in to make the business such a success. I wish them all the best for the future and may this be a start of a stream of recognition.”
At the Sustainable Restaurant Awards gala lunch at Oval Space in East London, Raymond Blanc said: “These awards are for me as important as Michelin Stars. They represent what everybody who is passionate about food should regard as the perfect ingredients: good ethics, an understanding that food touches every part of our lives and a desire to ensure that future generations will be able to experience from it the same pleasure as we have.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was this year’s recipient of the Raymond Blanc Sustainability Hero award for standing out as ‘the person who shows the greatest connection to seasonality, sustainability and traceability.’
Thomasina Miers’ popular Mexican restaurant group Wahaca, which has started serving grasshoppers to demonstrate how they can be a tasty and sustainable alternative protein source, won the award for Sustainable Innovation.
The Truscott Arms, in West London, triumphed in the Sustainable Pub of the Year category, while THE PIG in Brockenhurst was named Sustainable Hotel Restaurant of the Year.
Four winners underlined their excellent credentials repeating their success from 2014 – bartlett mitchell was again named Sustainable Caterer of the Year and Lussmanns Fish & Grill’s three Hertfordshire restaurants won Sustainable Small Group for the second time. The Welsh Sustainable Restaurant off the Year award saw repeat success for The Gallery in Barry and Les Orangeries in Lussac Les Chateaux scooped International Sustainable Restaurant of the Year for the second year running.
The Brookwood Partnership, a school’s caterer that’s created a superhero to help motivate children to fight food waste shared the SRA Award for Society with Carluccio’s which has worked tirelessly to support charities including Action Against Hunger, Kids Company and The Clink.
The SRA Award for Sourcing also had joint winners – ODE-dining and River Cottage HQ – both of which take local, seasonal and ethical sourcing to a whole new level.
A state of the art kitchen with induction hobs, hydrocarbon fridges and freezers which take much of their power from the hotel’s combined heat and power unit, helped Arbor Restaurant at The Green House Hotel in Bournemouth win the SRA Award for Environment.
Ceviche, Martin Morales’ Peruvian restaurant which leapt from One to Three Stars in the SRA’s rating in 2014, won the award for Most Improved Sustainability.
The Best Food Waste Strategy award was won by caterer Bennett Hay which helped its legal firm client to save three tonnes of waste and persuaded its directors to make food waste a regular agenda item at board meetings.
KSG, at University College Cork, was named Irish Sustainable Restaurants of the Year and D&D London won the award for Sustainable Large Group of the Year.
The theme of the event, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions, was the Future of Food and the 250 guests were served cricket canapés prepared by Wahaca, before sitting down to enjoy an exquisite two-course menu prepared by James Golding, Chef Director of THE PIG and served by a team of graduates from The Clink Charity.