22 September 2014

Worldchefs to select most sustainable restaurant in the world in 2015

Global chefs, who rarely venture out of the kitchen, are finally coming out to speak globally on an issue that they are responsible for: wasting food in the kitchen.
“We want to cut down on kitchen waste. We want to encourage people to use smaller plates. It has been estimated that 30 per cent of food on a plate is wasted,” Gissur Gudmundson, President of the World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs) told the Business Times in Male, capital of the Maldives, in a recent interview.

Gissur Gudmundson
“We want to teach people how a difference can be made by using a 21 cm plate against a 24 cm plate. Customers need not worry about the size of the plate … they will fill it anyway but won’t eat all the food on the plate,” he said. The next few years would be focused on sustainable development, he added.
Gudmundson, who hails from Iceland, was attending a Chefs Culinary Challenge competition in the Maldives on August 24-26 which coincided with a 3-day Food and Hospitality Asia 2014 exhibition last month.
He said they were preparing a new curriculum with the support of Unilever for culinary schools on sustainability. “I think we should even go further and teach sustainability in kindergartens because the next generation can make a difference even if we are unable to.”
Chefs, he said, in many ways are planning to change the world towards sustainable development through UN recognition of its profession and creating awareness on ways of minimising food waste in all aspects to help planet Earth. Selecting the most sustainable restaurant in the world is also on the cards.
The organisation with 10 million chef-members in 100 countries is due to sign a cooperation agreement with the United Nations this month aimed at securing recognition for the profession.
“We have set up rules to select the most sustainable restaurant in the world and that would happen next year on October 20 International Chefs Day,” he said, adding that Worldchefs is also working on a good food and nutrition (chart) for children. “This is where we want the support of the UN.”
He said chefs need more recognition as their responsibility is similar or more than what a doctor is to society. “For example we deal with food and that is a huge responsibility – we can kill if we want to. Every time a customer walks into a restaurant, he puts his life in our hands.”
On challenges faced by the profession, he said healthy food was the key to the future. “The demand has come from the customer seeking healthy food; you go to a restaurant and you want a good choice of vegetables.”
He said chefs have been ignoring this aspect of food in the past and the challenge now is in giving them the proper education. “That’s the reason why we have started with many seminars in the world – teaching people more about nutrition, sustainability and health.

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