You learn something new every day!
This is one of those blogs that we are slightly nervous about writing, in case everyone who reads it is saying, "Duh! Of course we knew about that!"
So pardon us for asking, but did you know about Michelin Green Stars? If so, move along ......
We have only just discovered such a thing exists. Maybe because we are not known to leaf through the Michelin guide (or scroll through since this year's edition is digital only) when deciding where to go to eat. The nearest we come to eating from a Michelin starred restaurant is when the chef shares a recipe that we then tweak to suit
a) our cooking skills
b) the time we are prepared to spend in the kitchen, and
c) the ingredients we are able, or willing, to source
But still, we like to keep abreast of new developments in food and to try new things, and although we are not very likely to be eating in one of these establishments any time soon, we were very interested to read that these top eateries are now putting sustainability on their menus.
The new star was added in 2020 and to date 291 restaurants in 21 countries have been awarded a Michelin Green Star. You may not be surprised to learn that France takes the lead with 82 restaurants selected for their sustainable commitment, but we bet you will be pleased to learn that one restaurant in Scotland is included.
The Michelin Green Star is awarded to restaurants who demonstrate sustainable practices. They must have high ethical and environmental standards and work with sustainable producers and suppliers to avoid waste and should reduce, or even remove, plastic and non-reyclable materials from their supply chain.
Their eco-friendly commitments are seen as a source of inspiration for keen foodies and the hospitality industry as a whole.
Many of them work directly with growers, farmers and fishermen; forage in hedgerows and woodlands; grow plants and rear their own animals.
There is no set formula, but when the inspector calls, he or she is considering the provenance of the ingredients, the use of seasonal produce, the restaurant's environmental footprint, food waste systems, general waste disposal and recycling, resource management and the communication between the team and the guests about the restaurant's sustainable approach.
We might actually be tempted to look through the guide as restaurants that have already started on a sustainable path are encouraged to give a one line description of their green initiatives and those that have won a Green Star include a quote from the chef about their practices in their directory entry. Could make interesting reading?
Here's the chef's quote from the sole Scottish representative, Inver in Strachur.
"Sustainability is the ground on which we build our business; it's much more than a 'subject' to us. The people, landscape, plants and animals that guide and shape our menus are an ecosystem, in which we are one evolving part. If they don't thrive, neither can we."
These Green Stars make us think about the oft-repeated phrase that it is the richest among us who contribute most to climate change
A study carried out by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environmental Institute last year found that between 1990 and 2015 the richest 10% of people were responsible for 52% of worldwide emissions.
The richest 1% were responsible for 15% of emissions, while the poorest half of the world had collectively created just 7% of carbon pollution.
Maybe we can start to change this, one meal at a time.