WEDNESDAY 18 JULY 2012 PRESIDENT OF THE SRA
A proud President and champion of sustainability
As a long time champion of sustainability and good food ethics, it is my enormous pleasure and honour to have been appointed as the first President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Last Thursday you may have seen on Twitter or in the news that I was at Canary Wharf with Thomasina Miers of Wahaca restaurants, serving delicious burritos out of a funky silver van. This was not a gimmick – or only a little – I was there to take part in and celebrate my appointment as the first President of the SRA – the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
Even an old boy like me has new things to learn, and on this day I learned how to make fantastic Mexican burritos with the help of Thomasina and her team. Merci Tommi! I had a lot of fun and I hope we got across our message about sustainability in the hospitality industry.
If you like to eat out, or if you work in the restaurant industry, you might have already come across the SRA. Giles Coren, restaurant critic of The Times, includes a mark for “sustainability,” in his restaurant reviews, as assessed by the SRA.
I am totally enthusiastic about and committed to sustainability and I hope that this is a message that will spread, via journalists, writers, restaurateurs and, of course, diners. But that is only one of the reasons I accepted this position.
The SRA’s goals are first to help restaurants become more sustainable and second to help diners make more sustainable choices, when they choose their restaurant and when they order their meal.
From the guest’s point of view, whether they are more concerned about sourcing – for example, looking for sustainable seafood, organic produce, or just a menu that’s seasonal and local, the environment, or supporting a restaurant that itself supports the local community, the SRA’s star-ratings can help. If you’re looking for a place to lunch or dine, you can find one of our members in your region by looking at the website, www.thesra.org.
And here’s an example from the restaurateur’s point of view: London restaurants throw out a mahoosive 600,000 tonnes of food waste every year – and most of it goes into landfill sites. That’s three double-decker buses full for every single restaurant in London. Just think of what it costs both restaurants and guests. The SRA estimates that that 30% of that is what’s left on diners’ plates; and that a 20% reduction, or 42,000 tonnes less food waste can be achieved.
The “Too Good to Waste” programme encourages restaurants and diners to use doggy bags and boxes to take home leftovers. The SRA website gives advice to restaurants on how to reduce waste, including prep waste and spoilage.
I have accepted the Presidency of the SRA because I am a Frenchman, brought up by Maman and Papa Blanc to treat food as a precious gift, not something to waste or treat in a casual manner. So as a French chef in Britain for over 35 years, I completely share the values of the SRA. And I hope that you do too!
I am delighted to let you know that all the restaurants in the Brasserie Blanc group are now members of the SRA. This goes a long way to showing that good ethics and sustainability make for good businesses – more and more businesses are beginning to understand this fantastically important message. Here's a link to the SRA website listing all the Brasserie Blancs by location: www.thesra.org/restaurant/brasserie-blanc/
I hope that you will all try and do your bit to eat out sustainably, and join me in supporting the growing number of businesses who are embracing sustainability as part of their ethics.
PS Please tell me what you think of my blogs and my website: I want to hear from you!
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