AUTHOR: ADYA RANA
Latin America is world-renowned for the high importance it gives to sustainability, given it’s diverse landscapes, rainforests and indigenous communities. The ‘buen vivir’ lifestyle – living in harmony with the natural world – is widely practised. So it’s no surprise that the sustainability of the restaurant industry there is so impressive.
The winning restaurant based in Lima – Central – excelled in all three of our key categories; Sourcing, Society and Environment, scoring 98% overall.
As the seasons change, so does the origin of the ingredients used at Central, working with farmers, producers and fisherman throughout Peru, by following their own harvest calendars for different products.
Care is taken to preserve aquatic biodiversity as much as on land, with regular conversations taking place between the restaurant and several artisanal fishing companies regarding what the sea has to offer the restaurant – and not the other way round. The restaurant therefore serves underused species such as piranhas or piures. Central strives to expose diversity through food, showcasing different landscapes, ethnic groups, and cultural traits in addition to ecosystems.
The restaurant looks after both its external and internal community – providing staff with English lessons and other training programmes, and helping them be eco-friendly by covering the costs of trips and expenses so the team can get to know their regional producers as well as producers nearby. Customers are also encouraged to dine consciously – and are provided with plenty of knowledge and appreciation for whatever their territory has to offer, and exactly why the restaurant values biodiversity so much.
The theme of diversity continues in the dishes – colours, shapes and textures that are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, fair amount of proteins – for staff and guests.
Food waste is very well-utilised in a variety of ways; organic restaurant waste is converted into feed for pigs, fruit skins and leaves are crushed into powders for future meal preparations, and even ceramic dinnerware is reused – gifted to local artists when chipped.
Ideas are ever-innovative at Central, with a solar-powered appliance to dry herbs being recently introduced – congratulations for your well-deserved award!
Recognising some extremely close runners up, Borago (95%) and MIL (92%), should also be congratulated. Both of these restaurants ensure that staff, community and environment are also meticulously looked after – with initiatives including charity events and sustainability advice for locals. It is clear across the continent that community is key.