The Basque Culinary Center was created a decade ago to serve students, conduct research, and launch initiatives to show how gastronomy can contribute to society. Its impressive international board includes chefs like Enrique Olivera, Dominique Crenn, Dan Barber, and Joan Roca – some of the top thought leaders in food and hospitality. Last week, the center held Sustainable Thinking symposium in San Francisco, where chefs, restaurateurs, and experts spoke on topics including hunger, social sustainability, and waste. Here are eight ways to follow the world’s best culinary minds and create a kinder, cleaner future in food.
Look to organizations like ZeroFoodPrint for help in approaching climate change.
Anthony Myint, chef-owner at Mission Chinese Food and the Perennial, took home the annual Basque Culinary World prize, with more than $100,000 attached. His work aims to leave a “zero footprint” on the environment through innovations in soil and farming practices. Good farming can reverse climate change, he said, and chefs are uniquely positioned to make the changes culturally and strive towards carbon-neutral restaurants.
To create change, start with dialogue.
Brazilian chef Felipe Ribenboim discussed a culinary seminar he organizes with fru.to, a platform for engagement and mobilization, that explores food waste and policy and proposes solutions for years to come. (The seminar – free and live streaming – is offered in English, Spanish and Portuguese.)
Find inspiration and use it to tackle big issues.
Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters told of her “food awakening” in France, seduced by the beauty of French culture. Feeling empowered by the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in the 1960s, she has sought to change the world through food. Her next project, a program that offers sustainable food lunches in California as part of the academic curriculum, will allow schools to purchase directly from farms.
Reimagine restaurant food for health and sustainability.
Enrique Olivera, chef at Pujol in Mexico City, acknowledged the negative impacts of fine dining on customers and the environment: too much food waste and overfeeding guests. “We love fine dining, but how do we transform it? By not generating waste and having deliciousness and health together.” His program uses as much of each vegetable as possible, including leaves and roots, and bundles vegetable scraps so they can become compost for the same vegetable. Carrot scraps become carrots, and lettuce scraps become lettuce – leading to better flavor and health. [Read more…]