Britain’s River Cottage, helmed by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, was recognized for being a sustainable establishment that is self-sufficient and socially and environmentally responsible, reported industry trade publication BigHospitality Thursday.
Fearnley-Whittingstall is best known to British TV audiences for his River Cottage series on Channel 4 which chronicled his attempts to downgrade his family’s life in rural England and become self-reliant. The series was also parlayed into The River Cottage Cookbook.
Most notably, River Cottage’s Axminster Canteen and Deli site scored 100 percent in the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s food waste category: leftovers are composted, while old cooking oil is converted into biofuel for the local community college.
A biomass boiler is fuelled with clearings from the local forests, while reed beds naturally process effluent from the site.
The canteens also run on renewable energy thanks to solar panels and a wind turbine — all part of an ongoing goal to become a zero-carbon site.
In addition to growing its own organic produce, River Cottage HQ uses an accelerated composter it calls The Rocket, which can compost fish, bones and cooked meat into potent fertilizer that’s used on the land.
To become certified, restaurants are asked 70 questions related to sourcing, environment and ‘society’ and are then rated accordingly. River Cottage’s Park Farm site scored an overall 87 percent, while its canteen in Axminster scored 84 percent, enough to become three-star Sustainability Champions — the SRA’s highest rating.
Other restaurants in the UK with three-star ratings include Petrichor at the Cavendish Hotel in London and The Royal Oak in Bishopstone.
Online at: http://www.rivercottage.net/