Producing food while protecting the planet is a societal issue as well as one at the heart of French gastronomy. The White Book of Responsible Gastronomy, published in March 2019, is a testament of the commitment of chefs, restaurant owners, farmers, fisher, and artisans to responsible cuisine that is concerned about having a neutral or even positive impact on the environment.
What does the White Book propose? Taking a tour of kitchens to rethink habits and customs, at all steps, from the choice of products (local and in season), to the composition of the menu, and including the choice of equipment (energy costs), waste management (recycling), and working conditions.
The White Book includes testimony from around 30 French and foreign chefs and producers, including Mauro Colagreco, Christopher Coutanceau, Juan Arbelaez, Eric Guerin, Christophe Hay, Michel Portos and the gardener Joël Thiebaut.
The White Book was published as part of the fifth edition of Goût de / Good France, an event to promote French gastronomy worldwide. In more than 150 countries, 5,000 chefs celebrated responsible cuisine. Meals, competitions, and other events allowed chefs and gastronomic professionals to dispense advice and increase public awareness of the environmental impact of food.
An international symposium reminded how much education, culture, and food are linked in the fight against food-based pathologies (obesity, malnutrition, etc.) and in completing the ecological transition. This conference was organized by UNESCO, FAO, and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
The gastronomic guide also commits to developing ethical and responsible cuisine. In addition to starred celebrities, it has also put in place the Sustainable Gastronomy Prize. The first winner is the fisherman and cook Christopher Coutanceau, who promotes sustainable fishing. This chef creates his menu while respecting the reproductive calendar of marine species.
He encourages stock regeneration by mainly sourcing from line fishers the fish used in his kitchen. Finally, he cooks species that may be considered “less noble” but are more abundant, like the sardine, weevers, and wrasse.
In the fall of last year, a new initiative was taken: the cooking revue 180°C published a supplemental feature where 10 chefs, accompanied by their farmer-suppliers, spoke about how they function in their kitchens and farms. Certain reduce the use of animal proteins and are invigorating quality industries while others favor local and organic ingredients in their food.