Le Cordon Bleu London alumna, Lara Espirito Santo, was invited back to the school recently to discuss the importance of food sustainability with some of our Diploma in Gastronomy, Nutrition and Food Trends students. After gaining a Masters in Poverty and Sustainable Development, Lara worked on sustainability projects for over five years in Brazil, before moving to London to train as a chef.
Having acquired a Grand Diplôme and a Diploma in Culinary Management at Le Cordon Bleu London last year, Lara now incorporates her passion for food sustainability into her current career as a chef, and stresses why it is important that more chefs make this a priority, and create a vehicle for change.
Local, organic, sustainable and biodynamic are all words that resonate with the new food generation, but Lara challenged our students to think about how many of the restaurants that use these taglines are actually practicing what they preach.
With this in mind, here are some of the current statistics about food waste:
- 25-50% of all food produced globally is wasted.
- 18-20 million tons of food is wasted annually in the UK.
- 1 billion malnourished people worldwide could be fed with just a quarter of the food that we waste.
- 40% of the UK’s fruit and vegetables are rejected before they even reach the shops.
Lara argued that contemporary chefs have more visibility than ever before, as the distance between the table and the kitchen have diminished. Diners now want to know who is cooking their food and what goes into it, which means that chefs now have the ability to raise the bar, demanding more from their suppliers and making sustainability a big part of their business concept.
Lara outlined ways in which she achieves this as a chef, such as only using secondary cuts of meat, making dishes out of leftover ingredients that would have otherwise been thrown away, and ordering produce straight from a farm! Our students were really challenged to explore the positive social and environmental impacts that their food choices could have.
When questioned about her future plans, Lara revealed that she eventually wants to open her own restaurant with food sustainability at its core. However, she wants the food to be the sole reason why people dine at her restaurant as opposed to the sustainability factor as she passionately reiterates; ‘sustainability should be part of the business concept and not the marketing strategy!”
Sustainability has been a common theme for our Diploma in Gastronomy, Nutrition and Food Trends students recently, with their trip to Seven Sisters Country Park, where they were introduced to sustainable foraging, and now this presentation on food sustainability within restaurants. With the perspective from both the supplier and the chef, it will be very interesting to see what exciting concepts our students think of in order to incorporate everything that they have learned so far!