Devon beach cafe & Marriott among Sustainable Restaurant Awards winners

SRA winner, Dixcart Bay

SRA winner, Dixcart Bay

A beachside cafe that only opened nine months ago and an international hotel group are the big winners at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards 2013.

Cafe-ODE, in Shaldon, Devon, has followed its partner restaurant ODE-dining in becoming Sustainable Restaurant of the Year, in the second year of the awards organised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), in association with Unilever Food Solutions.

Marriott Hotels International, with 58 sites across the UK, has been named Sustainable Large Restaurant Group of the Year.

The 14 winners of the restaurant awards include a fashionable rooftop restaurant, two fish and shops, a south coast pub and a Mexican and a Japanese restaurant group, demonstrating that restaurateurs and chefs across the spectrum are responding to consumers’ preference for sustainable dining.

Sheila Dillon, presenter of the BBC’s Food Programme is also recognised for her unstinting efforts to champion responsible food production and sourcing. She was presented with the Raymond Blanc Sustainability Hero Award by the chef patron of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, who is also President of the SRA, at the awards lunch at OXO2 in London, today (Monday 4 February). Blanc and two of his acolytes Bruno Loubet of Bistrot Bruno Loubet and Agnar Sverrisson of Texture prepared the lunch for 130 guests, including Antonio Carluccio, Rachel Khoo, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Andrew Fairlie.

Cafe-ODE, designed, built and set up to be the most sustainable restaurant, fulfilled its goal, beating off strong competition from more than 400 restaurants across the UK. It won the award by performing best in the SRA’s Sustainability Rating which assesses a restaurant’s credentials in three main areas – Sourcing, Environment and Society.

Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the SRA, paid tribute to cafe-ODE owners Tim and Clare Bouget: “To set out to open the most sustainable restaurant and achieve it is a terrific feat. To do it twice is extraordinary. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of cafe-ODE’s success is that it is a very popular local restaurant, serving high quality, but simple, well sourced food in the heart of a thriving community. It epitomises the efforts and achievements of all the Sustainable Restaurant Awards winners.”

The SRA’s assessors found it hard to find fault with cafe-ODE. As well as its almost flawless sustainable sourcing it also demonstrated excellent environmental standards - recycling everything it can and using renewable electricity. Its commitment to sustainability is genuinely built in – with a grass roof designed to attract local wildlife. Most of the materials involved in the construction were recycled and there is solar thermal energy equipment installed to keep the environmental impact to a minimum.

Equally notable was cafe-ODE’s dedication to the local community – running cooking classes for schoolchildren from the local village as well as well as raising money for the local wildlife trust.

Marriott Hotels International, the first large hotel group to receive a Three Star rating from the SRA, delivered across the board, with its ‘Future Fish' programme to promote responsible sourcing of fish, its work with schools teaching children cooking skills and educating them about food provenance, and using recycled or reclaimed items for more than half of its furniture and fittings.

Presenting Sheila Dillon with her award, SRA President, Raymond Blanc said: “Sheila has always been a luminary.  Never compromising, always curious, we both share the desire for chefs to reconnect with British farming and to encourage everybody to reconnect with their local community and great British food. She has a marvellous sense of ethics which makes her the perfect recipient of this award and has a deep understanding of how the world works and what we need to do preserve and protect it.”

Most Sustainable Small Restaurant Group of the Year, Wahaca, co-owned by former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, repeated its success of 2012.

Two fish and chip shops were named Scottish and Welsh Sustainable Restaurant of the Year: The Bay Fish and Chips, in Stonehaven, and Enochs in Llandudno. The other regional award went to Friends House, on Euston Road, which was named London Sustainable Restaurant of the Year.

The award for Most Improved Restaurant was won by Babylon in London in recognition of its improvement in all 14 of the SRA’s key sustainability areas. Most notably, it increased its commitment to responsibly farmed meat and dairy as well as sustainable fish, began measuring its food waste and introduced eco-doggy boxes.  The restaurant also raised £120,000 for charity.

Dixcart Bay Hotel, on the island of Sark, received the award for Sustainable Hotel Restaurant of the Year and Preston Park Tavern in Brighton was named Sustainable Pub of the Year.

Awards representing the SRA’s three main pillars of sustainability, Sourcing, Society and Environment were won by River Cottage, Devon, Cafe St Honoré, Edinburgh and Poco, in Bristol.

The Savoy Hotel won the award for the Best Food Waste Strategy. Over the past 12 months its Food waste to Renewable Energy Scheme has generated 216 megawatt hours of electricity enough energy to power about 27% of its guestrooms; and saved 198.72 tonnes CO2, representing a saving of at least £200 per week in landfill costs.

Feng Sushi, the small group of Japanese restaurants in London, picked up the Innovation award. The judges applauded the group’s commitment to work with UK producers to grow vegetables traditionally sourced from overseas as well as effectively ensuring a reliable supply of sustainable, seasonal fish.

 For more information on the awards visit the Sustainable Restaurant Association

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