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Understanding Sustainable Gastronomy Day

Understanding Sustainable Gastronomy Day

Auli Cinantya
18 June 2022


Sustainable gastronomy involves choosing and cooking food in a way that considers everything that goes into getting food from the fields to our plates, from how it's grown and transported to the ingredients we use and where we obtain them.


The United Nations General Assembly declared sustainable Gastronomy Day on June 18th. The decision recognizes cuisine as a cultural expression linked to the world’s natural and cultural variety.

But before we dig deeper on how to celebrate the day, let’s take a look back and understand the meaning of Sustainability Gastronomy and why it is a momentous day.

The word ‘sustainability’ has become a trend since its first appeared in 2006. Back then, almost every field of life that we know of would like to be sustainable. Thus, standards to achieve sustainability were created.

Fast forward to decades after, the word sustainability is overused and becomes unsustainable, primarily related to politics, economics, or the environment. However, sustainability is not a wrong concept when one can commit to doing it and not just use the word as a gimmick instead.

Gastronomy is often known as the “art of food.” It can also relate to a particular region’s cooking style. In other terms, gastronomy frequently relates to regional cuisine and food. Sustainability refers to doing something (such as agriculture, fishing, or food preparation) that does not waste natural resources and can be continued in the future without harming our environment or health.

As a result, sustainable gastronomy refers to cuisine that considers where foods come from, how they’re cultivated, and how they reach our markets and, finally, our plates.

Why is sustainability important?

With our modern lifestyles putting more pressure on natural resources and a population of over 10 billion people to feed by 2050, sustainable gastronomy is something we should consider while sourcing, cooking, and eating our food.

According to United Nations Development Program projections for 2020, 780 million people will suffer from hunger in the upcoming year. In 2020 itself, the number will already rise to 690 million.

Celebrating local, seasonal ingredients while protecting the environment has never been more critical. We’ve seen disruptions to the worldwide food chain due to the Covid 19 outbreak, including shortages and panic buying, as well as the virus’s severe consequences on many businesses. We’ve also seen how many smaller, local, independent producers have come in to help save the day.

Despite recent increases in public awareness about sustainability, we have not done enough – and we continue to exploit our oceans, forests, and soils in unsustainable ways.

It is estimated that one-third of all food produced globally goes to waste — and when food goes uneaten, all of the money, labor, energy and resources (seeds, water, feed, and so on) that went into producing it are also wasted.

Producers need to be more conscious of how they use natural resources, but we, as consumers, must be more discriminating in how we select, prepare, and eat our food. We can have a more significant impact than expected if we work individually but with a common purpose.

How Restaurant Implies Sustainability

Award-winning Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, the owner of the eponymous restaurant Narisawa (previously known as Les Creation de Narisawa) in Tokyo, clearly understands the sustainability concept and merges it into his ever-changing menu.

In 2016, Narisawa shared that sustainability is not only used for ingredients but more on keeping the overall surrounding where the ingredients are initially from.

“For example, it is important to keep a healthy forest because our forest is the one that creates carbon dioxides and the oxygen in the air that we breathe,” he says.

“The forest will influence the ocean and the animal in it. So unless we can maintain a healthy environment on this planet, we will not be able to have sustainable ingredients.”

As a two-Michelin-Star Chef, Narisawa chooses his ingredients carefully and prefers to look into organic vegetables with no preservatives or artificial influence. His philosophy to ‘bring nature to a plate’ is refreshing and a great effort to re-establish our relationship as humans with nature through food.

Some restaurants in Indonesia also have begun to adapt to a more sustainable concept to reduce food waste and be more conscious. Restaurant sustainability is when food businesses minimize their impact on the planet by addressing sustainable farming, carbon footprint, shortening their supply chain, food wastage, packaging, water and energy consumption, recycling, and more.

Check out our list of Sustainable Restaurants in Jakarta and Bali here!

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