Why is sustainability so important to the National Chef of the Year competition?

One of the key focuses for National Chef of the Year is sustainability. Our organisers and judges spend a great amount of time considering ingredients and the competitors’ brief to ensure it’s planned with sustainability in mind. We’re proud to work alongside sponsors who also have sustainability at the heart of their businesses and we’ve been going behind the scenes of both the young and senior competitions to learn more about the work these companies are doing.

Quorn is one of our competition partners and global head of foodservice, Tony Davison shared his thoughts: “As food security becomes more important to consumers, we cannot overstate how valuable we believe our work with chefs is. Consumers can’t order what’s not made available to them. So, the more chefs are actively thinking about protein diversity when creating their menus, the better the outcomes for the future of the planet.”

The battle to reduce plastic

Over recent year’s there has been a huge focus on reducing plastic and one company that’s been keen to play a part in this mission is Santa Maria. They have introduced a new taste pack which has been inspired by sustainability. The old one litre plastic jars have been replaced with new packaging created from renewable sources and is FSC certified.

Another company that’s making big steps to reduce plastic waste is our chef jacket sponsor, CCS. The Chefs Against Plastic Waste (CAPW) campaign has been designed by CCS to give all chefs a chance to turn their chef whites into chef ‘right’s’. 

Each jacket consists of plastic bottles fished from the UK coastline and they are expertly tailored not only for the perfect fit, but also with the aim of raising awareness of recycling and the need to reduce plastic waste in the hospitality and catering sector. We love the fact that worn out jackets can be recycled again, and it forms part of a long-term solution to the modern-day fight against waste.

Sean Donkin, head of marketing said: “Waste is only waste if you don’t do something with it, regardless of whether it’s plastic or anything else. We are gaining prestigious restaurants and interest from popular restaurants across the UK and we hope many more chefs and restaurants will follow. The RPB (Recycled Plastic Bottles) collection is enabling the industry to reduce plastic waste, help the environment and maintain the food chain by making one small change.”

Look out for the judges wearing these CCS jackets at the National Chef of the Year final on the 2nd October.

At the recent mentor day, NCOTY sponsor, Ritter Courivaud told us they do everything they can to reduce the use of plastics within the business, recycle wherever possible and try to work with manufacturers who also have sustainable practises.

Sustainable sourcing

The official supplier of seafood for National Chef of the Year, Direct Seafoods also places sustainability at the heart of the business when it comes to sourcing their products. A great deal of time is placed on researching products to ensure they come from the most sustainable methods of fishing and harvesting. When talking to the team at the National Chef of the Year mentor day you could see how they passionately believe in promoting wild, sustainable, or responsibly farmed species. Did you know Direct Seafoods only ship fish across the country if they are not available locally? This is because minimum food miles means maximum freshness for chefs and diners.

Reducing waste

Food waste is another hot topic for the hospitality industry and the NCOTY competition. Sponsor of the competition fruit and vegetables, Mash, work with their suppliers to constantly evolve the range of produce that they offer. It’s important they recycle over 100% of food waste and are proud of the work they do around sustainability.

Working together

At The Restaurant Show you can listen to an inspiring panel discussion on sustainability. This takes place at The Stage on Tuesday, 2nd October and will include Joanna Gilroy, head of sustainability at Bunzl Lockhart, chef and NCOTY judge Josh Overington, Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training and renowned chef, Anna Hansen. They will highlight how sustainability doesn’t just cover food and drink. Today it’s about looking after the people who cook it, the community they live in and the planet that produces it.

Ahead of speaking in this panel Jill Whittaker told us: “Everyone needs to work together a little bit more. There are lots of hospitality businesses doing stuff around sustainability but it all needs to be brought together to be more effective.”

But what do the ten talented chefs competing in this final think about the topic? Head to our recent article to find out.

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