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The Green Life: Sustainability on the Menu

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November 02, 2010

Sustainability on the Menu

Restaurant More than ever, sustainability is playing a starring role in chefs' kitchens. In preparation for its first national food conference in October, the James Beard Foundation launched a survey to determine the most important issues for U.S. chefs. More than 170 chefs responded, and the results were encouraging for the Earth.

The vast majority said planet-friendliness was becoming integral to the restaurant world. For instance, 84% claimed that they'd made substantial progress in moving toward sustainability in their food sourcing. 65% said the same thing regarding their restaurant's waste and energy and water usage. Moreover, 73% indicated that food sourcing has become a high concern for them.

Keep in mind, though, that the survey's response rate was only about 18%, and that all of the chefs surveyed were members of the James Beard Foundation. While these facts certainly don't spike the punch, just how widespread the issue of sustainability is in American restaurants remains relatively unknown.

Even so, environmental issues were a main dish at the conference last month, indicating that the James Beard Foundation is taking a leadership role in promoting sustainability in the kitchen. Someone's gotta do it; according to the survey, 67% of chefs believe that the government shouldn't have a role in greening restaurants. 

--Ronny Smith

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