Gli chef della sostenibilità

Sustainable Chefs

The catering sector is constellated by realities committed to reducing its environmental.

by Anna Volpicelli
16 March 2020
6 min read
by Anna Volpicelli
16 March 2020
6 min read

Sustainability is a word we often hear these days, especially in the restaurant industry. When it comes to food, notable chefs globally are trying to change the game, from the way they source ingredients to how they prepare, cook and process the waste.
Indeed, within the food industry, the concept of sustainability focuses on how eateries are reducing their waste streams, minimizing their impact on the environment and committing to clean energy methods. Over the last few years, more and more professional cooks are whipping up new ways to fight the consequences of climate change and global warming.
One such trailblazer is San Francisco-based chef Anthony Myth. As a winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize, Myth has been celebrated for demonstrating gastronomy's positive impact in fields such as culinary innovation, health, nutrition, education, the environment, and social and economic development. His ZeroFood Print project provides guidelines to chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world on ways they can go carbon-neutral, from sourcing ingredients locally to donating one dollar per dine to help fund the transition to regenerative agriculture.
Another example is The Chef's Manifesto, industry guidelines designed by more than 150 chefs around the world, which was launched in 2018 at the EAT Forum in Stockholm. Related to the United Nations' global goals, it identifies actions for cooking food without cooking the planet, including a recipe database, "Cooking the Manifesto", which is aimed at eating sustainably.

The journey toward a conscious kitchen

There are many festivals and initiatives around the world that promote proactive actions to save the planet. One of the most notable is Care's The ethical Chef Days (March 26-29, 2020), an annual food event that takes place at AlpiNN hotel at Plan de Corones on the Dolomites.
The festival was launched five years ago as a project conceived by the three-Michelin-starred Chef Norbert Niederkofler, of the restaurant St. Hubertus in San Cassiano, and Paolo Ferretti, owner of hmc, one of the leading communication agencies of Trentino-South Tyrol.
The event gathers wine and food companies and professionals dedicated to taking care of the environment, their local communities and the rhythm of nature, as well as to promoting an ethical and sustainable approach to cooking.
"CARE's was born primarily from what has been my professional evolution—from a standardized and refined cuisine, which however was out of place and banal in the mountains, to a conscious kitchen that starts from the rediscovery of local traditions, from local and seasonal products...and the knowledge of who produces them", explains Niederkofler.
Throughout the years the festival has showcased personalities like Oscar Farinetti, founder and creator of Eataly and FICO; Stefania Lallai of Costa Cruises; and Lara Gilmore of Food for Soul; along with international Michelin-starred chefs who share a common goal—to minimize food waste through various projects.
"We realized this concept could not remain closed in the walls of my restaurant in the Dolomites", says Niederkofler. "Its ability to positively influence ethical action even in everyday life was evident. Its chances of inheriting something better for future generations were enormous".

Gli chef della sostenibilità

Sustainability starts in the kitchen

The 2020 event revolves around the topic "CARE's after CARE's. RE-action speaks louder than words", which focuses on sustainability as a lifestyle—a practice that transcends the kitchen.
"The behavior you have in the kitchen can also influence the ethical behavior you have in everyday life", says Ferretti. "CARE's has shown that, so much so that the event keeps the focus on the chefs. Still, over the years, it has affected the most diverse sectors, from agriculture to medicine, architecture to clothing, renewable energy to mobility".
To promote this concept, the 2020 event will feature Yvon Chouinard, the charismatic founder of Patagonia and precursor of sustainability in the world of industry, along with Professor Emeran Mayer, gastroenterologist and lecturer at the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, a pioneer in the research of brain-intestine interactions.
According to Niederkofler, we can all contribute to keeping the world more sustainable "by choosing what to eat—local, seasonal products that have not made more than 24 hours of travel (i.e., they have generated a very low environmental impact)". He also encourages diners to choose local restaurants.
Ferretti agrees. "Following these simple guidelines, you are aware that food is certainly healthier because you know the origin of the ingredients, fresher because it comes from the nearby farmer and cheaper because the supply chain is significantly reduced".

Restaurants are focused on maintaining high standards

In 2018, the National Restaurant Association released a State of Restaurant Sustainability report to highlight such efforts by restaurant operators. It aims to help operations of all types and sizes understand what other restaurateurs are doing to begin or continue their sustainability journey.
The results showed that restaurants of all kinds are innovating and making progress. From independent operators to large chains, the foodservice industry is reducing its energy and water consumption, minimizing waste creation and connecting with environmentally-aware guests.

"The restaurant industry is evolving relatively uniform all over the world. The recovery of traditions, starting from one's roots, but also the research and innovation that arise from this dive into the past. These are all trends that have or are already being transformed into customs", concludes Niederkofler.


The author: Anna Volpicelli

Editor and journalist Il Sole 24 Ore, The San Francisco Chronicle, SOMA MAGAZINE, D la Repubblica delle Donne, L'Espresso (print & web),, A,, Yoga Journal Italy, Vogue Sposa & Vogue Bambini.