The number of vegetarians and vegans around the world it is constantly growing, spurred on by healthy choices and by a greater attention to the environment, but those who don’t feel like making a radical change can do your part for yourself and for the world even if only by choosing a diet that is increasingly rich in fruit and vegetables, even better if they are local and in season (which are even tastier).
I great chefs begin to lead by example, starting with the 1000 (from 46 countries) present in the Green Guide 2021: the guide that includes the best restaurants in the world, including omnivores, which dedicate at least two thirds of their menu to dishes prepared with vegetables and which stand out for culinary creativity, ecological footprint and social impact, ranking them on a scale of 1 to 5 radishes.
LA GREEN GUIDE 2021
The idea of the guide is of We Are Smart World, an association born to promote sustainability in the kitchen and in general a more attentive approach to the impact of our daily choices, which this year awarded the We Are Smart Award come «Best Vegetables Restaurant in the World» at La Distillerie, led by Chef René Mathieu in Luxembourg. Many Italians stand out in the top 100: Piazza Duomo of Chef Enrico Crippa in Alba in fourth place (therefore also awarded as “Best Vegetable Restaurant” in Italy), the Joia of Milan led by Chef Pietro Leemann on the twelfth, the Arnolfo restaurant in Colle Val d’Elsa (Siena) by the chef Gaetano Trova at place 21, and at 30 La Madernassa di Guarene (Cuneo) with Chef Michelangelo Mammoliti, which also won the «Discovery Award for Italy».
TWO THIRDS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IN THE DISH
«We thought about this award because we want to motivate cooks to use more vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits and other plant-based ingredients to become central to their creations», dice Frank Fol, founder of We Are Smart World. For everyone Fol is “The vegetables Chef” (and not “vegetarian”, because his is an omnivorous cuisine in which vegetables are predominantly): after selling a restaurant where he worked for 16 years, he dedicated himself totally to the association with which it carries out events dedicated to professionals and enthusiasts for the promotion of green cuisine, and has developed a method – “Think Vegetables, Think Fruit» – to encourage people to fill two thirds of the plate with fruit and vegetables every day. Do you want to try? Three steps are enough: choose the plant-based ingredients that give character to the dish, the technique for cooking them (on the We Are Smart World website he suggests 51), and in the end the protein making sure that at least two days a week are completely veg.
“There are many reasons to promote plant-based cuisine: health, respect for nature, environmental impact, and sustainability in general, one of the crucial objectives for the future of the world, as the UN reminds us “, continues the chef, who with We Are Smart World it was also chosen by the Belgian government as testimonial dei Sustainable Developement Goals of the United Nations so that with its contribution it helps the world to understand why food choices play a primary role in the fight against climate change.
WHAT IS CHANGING
Yes, something is changing: meat consumption continues to decline, the consumption of organic products increases and in general in the world there is a greater awareness linked to environmental issues. “Chefs, especially young people, are increasingly busy making proposals for vegetable cuisine and in general to make a difference from every point of view regarding sustainability ”, confirms Frank Fol. «This means not only use more local and quality fruit and vegetables or increase the percentage in omnivorous dishes, but also think about solutions that reduce energy expenditure, waste, and pay attention to social sustainability and therefore to the well-being of staff members ».
THE NEW RESTAURANTS
They are restaurants who are promoting a new way of eating, working and living: for example because they have a vegetable garden behind the dining room, because they choose local products from small producers, they make precise choices by virtue of the well-being of people and therefore also of nature. A new way to a better world, obviously with due exceptions that confirm the rule given that in many omnivorous restaurants it is still difficult to find a good vegetarian dish that is not predictable and obvious, and this – also according to Frank Fol – is a missed opportunity: «When a chef is creative with vegetables, and makes good food, he really convinces guests with taste: this is the only way to change people’s habits. Omnivorous restaurants that don’t want to change will never cease to exist, but our challenge is to try to involve as many people anyway. We can do it”.
This is also why we can contribute: «Customers – concludes Fol – are demonstrating that they prefer restaurants with a wider range of plant-based dishes and this gives us hope for the future. When people discover the power, the taste, the creativity of vegetables, a world opens up and when you have tried it you never go back, because everyone wins: nature, health and yes, taste.». In the gallery above some of the winners of the Green Guide 2021