Enda McEvoy, head chef and owner of Michelin-starred Loam in Galway, Ireland. McEvoy sources all his ingredients from the west of Ireland, which helped his restaurant achieve the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest, three-star Food Made Good rating.
“The restaurant of the future is about running a business with a more ethical and sustainable eye, rather than mindlessly running a business and producing a lot of waste. People are cottoning on to the fact that it can also be more economically beneficial to run a restaurant mindfully. I think that a lot of people have gone in the direction of using what’s around you, being more flexible about what we eat, and going with the seasons.
We have a restaurant that only uses ingredients from the west of Ireland, as much as it can. We have meetings with our veg supplier three times a year to decide what they’re going to plant the following year and we agree to buy everything off them, accepting all their failures as well. We also buy whole animals and butcher them in-house. It’s cheaper and have to think more about what we’re going to make so we don’t waste anything.
This approach makes the role of a chef a more interesting one. At the end of the day, you’re stuck in a little white box as a chef and your only connection to the outside world is the people who deliver things to you. Rather than ordering produce over the phone, getting it delivered, putting it on a plate, and taking money from someone, your job becomes more about developing relationships with producers and then showcasing their work.
Sourcing locally and growing your own will become more important. By limiting our ingredients, we find there’s a lot more out there than you might imagine. For example, we use carrot seeds in place of importing oranges and citrus fruits. There are bigger issues if you’re in a city, which is why urban farming is going to become even more essential but now, it’s already relatively inexpensive for restaurants to have systems in place to grow things.”