Chef Gaggan Anand and Dr Jon Cybulski shed light on how fine dining restaurants can be more sustainable.
It goes without saying that fine dining is a leisure culinary pursuit revered by many. However, when it comes to being environmentally conscious, fine dining outlets don’t always go hand in hand with sustainability.
In relevance to this, Chef Gaggan Anand and Dr Jon Cybulski share valuable insight on how fine dining can be more sustainable. The award-winning chef and marine ecologist are appearing in the inaugural Planet Possible Day by National Geographic Asia this Sunday, a virtual event dedicated to inform and inspire individuals to live more lightly on the planet.
[Hero and featured image credit: Gaggan Anand]
Chef Gaggan Anand on being an Environmentally-aware Chef
“Sustainability is a step-by-step process. Although you can never truly achieve 100% sustainability, my team and I do the best that we can,” says Chef Gaggan. “When you focus on making the food too fine, you tend to forget responsibility.”
Indian-born Bangkok-Based chef and restaurateur Gaggan Anand places emphasis on the vitality of personal responsibility towards wanting to minimise waste. For him, it’s the accumulation of little things that leads to the minimisation of wastage and improved sustainability. “It all begins with ingredients and recipes. Specific to fine dining, sometimes, when you’re too focused on making the food too fine, you tend to forget responsibility. Minimising food wastage begins with the idea and responsibility that there should be no waste.” Elaborating on this point, the chef shares an anecdote: “when people are dining at my restaurant, I want them to eat everything on the plate to avoid food wastage.”
Ways the Gaggan Anand Restaurant is Minimising Waste
Banning single-use plastic, enforcing suppliers to deliver products in a sustainable manner, and not selling watered bottles at the restaurant are a few steps the chef has taken to embrace sustainability. “Food sustainability is a whole package. It’s ingredients, it’s recipes, it’s cooking, it’s lifestyle, it’s ideas. It’s a whole idea to recycle life and everything around it.
Dr Jon Cybulski on How Eating Local is the Key to Sustainable Fine Dining
‘Eating local’ refers to consuming locally sourced food products rather than imported products. Endorsing locally sourced and in-season foods contributes to sustainability on a significant scale. Hong Kong-based marine and historical ecologist Dr Jon Cybulski discusses the magnitude of eating local. “Eat locally-sourced food as much as you can. The poorest people tend to be the most sustainable due to a lack of access to non-locally-sourced foods. Educate yourself on local products and sustainability because being educated and implementing the relevant means is what leads to the reduction of carbon footprint and increased food sustainability.”
The Rise of Plant-based Dining
In recent years, a lot of people have turned to a more plant-based diet. Whether that’s for health reasons, animal welfare reasons, environmental reasons, or otherwise.
Dr Jon says that although “meat tends to be the least sustainable, a locally-sourced homegrown chicken may be more sustainable than imported bananas. It’s important to think about where the food you’re eating is coming from and understand what ‘sustainable’ means to you. If you don’t eat meat but you’re eating processed meat that’s produced and sourced internationally, it’s not exactly the most sustainable way to alter your diet.”
‘Planet Possible day’ airs on 24 October 2021 at 5.00 pm on National Geographic Asia’s Facebook page.