Sustainable practice is the core philosophy of Chef Simon Rogan in running his award-winning restaurant, L’Enclume in Cartmel, United Kingdom.
Established in 2002, this restaurant received two Michelin stars and was voted by the Good Food Guide as the Best Restaurant in the UK for four consecutive years in 2016.
The charm of the restaurant is in its chef’s use of home-grown and hand-picked ingredients featured in their menu that changes in every season.
“Our restaurant is very much connected to our farm. Ninety nine percent of what we serve comes from the farm,” said Chef Rogan on the vegetables and animals that are being raised in his organic farm.
The British chef shared his Michelin-starred restaurant’s best practices and his advocacy during his talk entitled “The Great Food Conspiracy” at the recently concluded Madrid Fusion Manila held in Pasay City.
Using ingredients grown in his own farm equates to high quality dishes. More than that, this practice sends a strong message for chefs and consumers about sustainability: for chefs to consciously choose ingredients to use, and for consumers to be conscious which products to patronize.
“Major food changes are needed within our system. As chefs, we have the responsibility to put these changes through,” Rogan said.
He tackled issues such as the environmental impact of livestock production, which is known to cause pollution, as well as the use of chemicals in farming for the sake of profit.
“The quest for cheap food and high profits has created a world where anything is possible all the time,” Rogan lamented.
As an answer to his observation, he suggested that people should consciously eat more vegetables and to know where their food was sourced.
“I’m not saying give up on meat altogether; I’m just saying eat less of it. We should eat more vegetables,” he said.
“As humans, we are designed to eat more vegetables. Know where your food is coming from,” he added, encouraging his audience to support local produce in the market.
To highlight this, Chef Rogan and his sous chef Dan Cox prepared a dish with vegetables as the main ingredient. Chef Rogan also showed how to be creative with dishes that use local ingredients. In this case, he utilized hemp, malunggay (moringa), and aratilis (muntingia), which are indigenous ingredients in the Philippines.
“We didn’t bring our own ingredients with us. That’s not sustainable. We chose ingredients that can be found here,” Chef Cox shared.
Another dish presented by chefs Rogan and Cox consisted of a symphony of beets, sweet potato leaves, and hemp oil. Another dish had cabbage basted in butter and served with mushrooms, teriyaki sauce, and moringa.
Their last dish was a colorful dessert that was a delightful combination of lansones, kamias, aratilis, guyabano (soursop) frozen in liquid nitrogen, and santan flowers. Both chefs lauded the “amazing produce” the Philippines has and noted that Filipinos should be proud of their local ingredients.
“Coming from UK, we’re not blessed with that many fruits. It’s too cold. Fruit is something we will definitely not forget–in size, in taste–from what we have experienced in the market,” Rogan said, sharing their trip to a local market in Metro Manila.
“The herbs, vegetables, and fruits that we’ve found are so good for you and so nutritious..You should be proud of what you’ve got,” Chef Cox said.