11 | Sep | 12

Richard Johnson

Hugh The Man

Street food traders have never really got to grips with sustainability. Something to do with the itinerant nature of their business — difficult to reuse and recycle when you’re always packing up and moving on.

Restaurants have it easy. But we’re all in this together, so well done to the River Cottage Canteen in Plymouth for its outstanding commitment to sustainability — “an inspiration for restaurants across the UK”, according to the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), after awarding the Devon eatery its highest ever rating.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s newest restaurant scored 89% in the SRA’s comprehensive sustainability Star Rating, surpassing the scores of 87% for River Cottage HQ at Park Farm and 84% at The River Cottage Canteen, Axminster, in 2011. All three are rated Three Star by the SRA. Canteen Plymouth just pips Dixcart Bay Hotel, Sark, that scored 88% in its rating in July.

In an effort to keep up with the world of restaurants, the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) and the SRA have now gone and created a new online sustainability programme for mobilers. The programme will help traders get up to speed across a range of ten key sustainability areas including sourcing, menu planning, environmental best practice and fair treatment of staff.

Canteen Plymouth excelled across the board but particularly impressed SRA assessors with its commitment to sourcing from local, independent suppliers and using meat, poultry and dairy from animals kept to high standards of welfare. The restaurant is trying to find a way to have local honey, fruit and vegetables delivered to the restaurant by sail boat to reduce carbon emissions from transport. That’s just ain’t going to happen at Glastonbury…