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10 Ways to Celebrate Sustainable Gastronomy Day

10 Ways to Celebrate Sustainable Gastronomy Day: chefs as catalysts for change

On Sustainable Gastronomy Day, we celebrate the vital role chefs play in crafting a more sustainable food system. As culinary professionals, chefs possess a unique influence over consumers, driving cultural and behavioral shifts toward sustainable practices. Chefs are not merely creators of exquisite dishes; they are educators, innovators, and advocates for a healthier planet.

Chefs as Influencers and Educators

Chefs have the power to shape public opinion and influence food choices. By promoting locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, chefs can guide consumers towards more sustainable eating habits. The culinary arts can be a conduit for sustainability, fostering a deeper appreciation for traditional food practices that respect natural resources and cultural heritage.

Sustainable Gastronomy Day highlights how chefs, through their creativity and commitment, can address global challenges such as food waste, climate crisis, and the loss of biodiversity. By integrating sustainability into their menus, chefs can be agents of change.

Feed the Planet’s Like a Chef St. Lucia graduates, 2024. Read more here.
Taking Action: 10 practical steps for a more conscious kitchen

Culinary professionals are pivotal in championing sustainability in their kitchens and communities, connecting to a global movement towards a better future. Here are 10 practical steps chefs can take to promote sustainability, protect livelihoods, and foster a sustainable food system:

  1. Source Locally and Seasonally: Explore the journey from farm to fork, and prioritize ingredients from local small-scale farmers and suppliers to support regional economies. Engage with local producers to understand the harvesting schedules and plan menus around seasonal produce. This not only ensures the freshest ingredients but also promotes biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.
  2. Minimize Food Waste: Implement strategies to reduce food waste in kitchens, such as nose-to-tail cooking and repurposing leftovers. Educate kitchen staff on proper storage techniques to extend the shelf life of ingredients. Utilize food waste tracking tools to identify and address key areas where waste can be minimized.
  3. Educate and Inspire: Use your platform to educate staff and customers about the importance of sustainable practices. Share stories about the farmers and producers you work with and the benefits of sustainable sourcing. Create awareness through menu descriptions and signage that highlight your commitment to sustainability.
  4. Engage in Continuous Learning: Enroll in programs like Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals to stay informed about the latest sustainability practices. Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars focused on sustainable gastronomy. Network with other chefs and sustainability experts to exchange ideas and best practices.
  5. Optimize Energy and Water Use: Invest in energy-efficient kitchen equipment and implement practices to reduce water usage. Regularly maintain and update appliances to ensure they operate efficiently. Educate staff on simple habits, such as turning off equipment when not in use and using water-saving techniques during food preparation and cleaning.
  6. Reduce Single-Use Plastics: Transition to reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging and serving materials. Encourage customers to bring their own containers for takeout and provide incentives for doing so. Work with suppliers to reduce plastic packaging for delivered goods.
  7. Promote Biodiversity: Incorporate diverse and heirloom varieties of fruits, vegetables, and grains into your dishes. Incorporating beans and legumes into your menu not only promotes biodiversity but also provides a nutritious and sustainable protein source. Experiment with lesser-known ingredients that can add unique flavors and nutritional benefits to your menu.
  8. Engage in Community Outreach: Partner with local food banks and shelters to donate surplus food. Organize cooking classes and workshops that teach sustainable cooking techniques to the community. Participate in local farmers’ markets and food festivals to promote sustainable gastronomy.
  9. Lead by Example: Demonstrate leadership in your kitchens by ensuring fair wages, equal opportunities, and continuous training for your team. Champion women’s empowerment in agriculture and culinary arts, advocating for better representation and support in these fields.
  10. Advocate for Change: Participate in community and industry initiatives that promote sustainable food systems. Collaborate with local schools and organizations to teach children about healthy and sustainable eating. Be a citizen chef by advocate for policy changes supporting sustainable agriculture and food systems.

By embracing these actions, chefs can make a significant impact on global sustainability efforts.

Local to Global: taking your impact to the world stage

Chefs can further this impact by engaging in policy advocacy and public education. By collaborating with governments, NGOs, and industry stakeholders, chefs can influence food policy to support sustainable practices. Participating in forums, policy discussions, and campaigns allows chefs to advocate for a food system that prioritizes sustainability, inclusion, and health.

By reducing food waste, sourcing sustainably, and supporting ethical practices, chefs can contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG 13 (Climate Action). Moreover, by advocating for fair trade, local sourcing, and protecting the livelihoods of farmers and producers, chefs also support SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

On this Sustainable Gastronomy Day, let’s celebrate the transformative power of chefs as agents of change. By taking simple, everyday actions, chefs can lead the way toward a more sustainable and delicious food future for all. Through education, advocacy, and practical action, culinary professionals can make a lasting impact on both people and the planet.

Join Us: how you can inspire change with Worldchefs
The Feed the Planet team, June 2024. Read more about the Feed the Planet partnership here.

“Chefs have become increasingly involved in
the global movement to reduce food waste,
championing food waste reduction efforts in their
own restaurants, as well as empowering local
communities to fight food waste. In June 2018, the
World Association of Chefs Societies (World Chefs)
met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to shed light on the
links between the culinary industry and food waste,
environmental degradation, and hunger.”

Chefs As Agents of Change, FAO and UNESCO Collaboration on Food and Culture

Worldchefs offers resources and education to empower culinary professionals worldwide to be food champions. Whether it be tuning in to Worldchefs’ webcast Sustainability Around the World or exploring Feed the Planet programs, everyone has the opportunity to take action.

One key initiative is Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals, an open-source online curriculum available on Worldchefs Academy. This comprehensive course, consisting of eight lessons, equips chefs with the knowledge and tools to think and act sustainably. Topics range from sustainable sourcing and food waste reduction to energy efficiency and community engagement. By completing this course, chefs can become champions of sustainability, influencing their peers, patrons, and the broader community.

This October, Worldchefs’ global community will gather together in Singapore for the 2024 Worldchefs Congress. Join the discussion surrounding the biggest challenges and opportunities facing culinary professionals and help inspire trends that will shape the future of the hospitality industry.

Check out the Speakers to discover hospitality professionals paving the way toward a sustainable future. Meet industry leaders like Emile van der Staak, Head Chef of Restaurant De Nieuwe Winkel, and thousands of chefs from around the world with a shared commitment to making a difference.

“The food forest was the catalyst for our story around botanical cuisine. We realise that many of the challenges we face come back to our plates. Our food system is one of the biggest drivers of global warming. That’s why we only use plants: botanical gastronomy.” — Emile van der Staak

Register now to expand your network and gain skills for a more conscious kitchen.

Cover image: A plate from Restaurant De Nieuwe Winkel’s current menu: Awakening.


For more on Social Impact in the Kitchen, join us on June 25th to discover the inspiring journey of Jordann Norbert.
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FeedThePlanet

Like a Chef Program Wins ESAE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

Like a Chef  Program Wins ESAE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

  • The Like a Chef program, a Feed the Planet initiative driven by Worldchefs, Electrolux Food Foundation, and AIESEC, has won the 2023 ESAE Association Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award.
  • The European Society of Association Executives (ESAE) is the leading voice of senior-level managers in Europe. The ESAE Association Awards recognize exceptional achievements by Association members.
  • Like a Chef was launched in 2017 with a goal to educate and train 3000 people worldwide by 2030, and has reached over 1000 individuals with life-changing culinary training and career guidance. Learn more about Feed the Planet programs including Like A Chef at feedtheplanet.worldchefs.org.

Paris, 29 June 2023 – The World Association of Chefs’ Societies (Worldchefs), together with Feed the Planet partners Electrolux Food Foundation, accepted the 2023 ESAE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Award for the remarkable impact of the Like a Chef employment training program.

The European Society of Association Executives (ESAE) is the leading organization for senior-level managers in Europe. Bringing together association leaders, ESAE facilitates the exchange of best practices among professional peers. The ESAE Association Awards were held on 15 June 2023 in Brussels, recognizing exceptional achievements by Association members.

Linh To and Cosimo Scarano accept the DEI Award celebrating the Like a Chef initiative.

“I am proud and happy having chaired the first-ever ESAE association awards. They recognize the achievements of association professionals by their peers, independently from any industrial or commercial interest,” said Mohamed Mezghani, the ESAE Board Member who initiated and led the Awards. “This inaugural edition rewarded projects and initiatives of high quality which will certainly inspire trade associations as well as professional societies. It’s this spirit of innovation and sharing that drives ESAE and its members.”

Jury member Frederic Hoffman presented the Award with Solange Cleutjens, who represented I am Amsterdam, to key representatives from Worldchefs and Electrolux Food Foundation.

“We are honored to receive the 2023 ESAE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award for our Like a Chef employment training program. This recognition underscores the global impact and commitment of Worldchefs, Electrolux Food Foundation, and all our dedicated partners, as we celebrate the success of Like a Chef in empowering underprivileged individuals with professional skills and sustainable cooking methods,” says Worldchefs President, Thomas A. Gugler. “We express our deepest appreciation to the Worldchefs community all around the world, whose unwavering efforts fuel our Feed the Planet initiatives and share ‘The Power of the White Jacket’ through professional culinary expertise and conscious cooking practices across the globe.”

Impacting Communities

Like a Chef was launched in late 2017 with a goal to educate and train 3000 people worldwide by 2030. Founded and driven by Worldchefs together with Electrolux Food Foundation, the Like a Chef program is an employment training initiative that provides professional culinary skills to underprivileged individuals. The program emphasizes sustainable cooking methods with a zero-waste approach.

Adapted to each community it serves, the program empowers various groups in need, including refugees, single parents, cancer survivors, and orphaned teenagers, to provide for themselves and their families. With over 1000 graduates, there have been eight training centers around the world in Brazil, Poland, Egypt, Sweden, St. Lucia, Russia, and Ukraine.

“This project is really tailored to the needs of local communities. Together with our partner Worldchefs, Electrolux Food Foundation really wanted to give back to local communities and that’s the purpose and the secret of the success of this initiative,” said Cosimo Scarano, Head of Electrolux Food Foundation. “We are very honored to see the recognition coming for this program and are every day more and more convinced of its potential in changing people’s lives. Thanks to my team and to everyone who contributes daily to Like a Chef implementation and success.”

About the ESAE Awards

2023 marked the inaugural year of the ESAE Association Awards. The ESAE Association Awards identify projects that can be an inspiration for the greater professional community. Highlighting team members who usually stay out of the spotlight, the main goal is to learn from best practices and transferable knowledge. The ‘DEI Award’ celebrates projects built around the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“Our idea is really to share what we know best—how to cook—with people we need, and then to help them to find a job in a professional kitchen. It is an industry that is always looking for new employees, and then we also have people who are looking for opportunities to change their lives,” says Linh To, Worldchefs’ Event and Project Manager. “It’s been six years and we have managed to reach 1000 people. It’s a big achievement and we are very, very grateful to receive this commendation.”

Take action

The Like a Chef program is made possible with the support of Feed the Planet partners and the tireless contributions of Worldchefs’ members around the globe. Worldchefs extends the utmost gratitude to all program participants, local partners, sponsors, and volunteer chefs who contribute to the life-changing success of Like a Chef and all Feed the Planet initiatives. It is the dedication of Worldchefs’ global community that fosters resilience and solidarity in the industry and beyond.

“It’s an incredible honor to have been able to help change the lives of over 1000 people through the Like a Chef program, and the only way this is possible is through the diverse partnership of Worldchefs, Electrolux Food Foundation, and AIESEC, which together forms the backbone of Feed the Planet,” says Feed the Planet Chairman, Chris Koetke. “We look forward to expanding our program and reaching more lives in the years to come.”

To learn more about Feed the Planet and the Like a Chef program, visit feedtheplanet.worldchefs.org.

Read more in the latest issue of Worldchefs Magazine

Head to page 47 in Issue 29 to read more about how the Like a Chef program is changing lives.

From mastering the art of sustainable cooking to embracing the latest technological advancements in the kitchen, Worldchefs Magazine is your guide to staying at the forefront of the culinary profession. 

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