Any ethical foodie Londoner worth their salt knows the Duke of Cambridge: the certified organic gastropub that opened in Islington twelve years ago. What is not yet common knowledge is the fact that the Duke is one of the founder members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which launched in March 2010 and aims to transform eating out in the UK. Charlotte Jarman explains
The Duke of Cambridge is the UK’s first and only Soil Association-certified gastropub, and sets the bar high for sustainable restaurants. Owner Geetie Singh strives to ensure that the pub’s impact on the environment and on the local community is as positive as possible. For example, 80% of the fresh produce used in the pub’s kitchen comes from the Home Counties, and its menu changes daily – sometimes twice – to make the most of seasonal produce. Order a pint at the bar and the chances are it’ll be not only certified organic, but also brewed in London. Soon after opening the pub Geetie worked together with the Marine Conservation Society to draw up a strict sustainable seafood policy – one of the first of its kind. And in Geetie’s eyes, sustainability is about much more than where the food and drink comes from – all the pub’s furniture is reused, for example, and any unavoidable waste
produced by the bar and kitchen is recycled or composted.
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is working hard to help restaurant businesses around the UK follow in the Duke’s pioneering footsteps. The brainchild of Giles Gibbons of consultancy Good Business and Mark Sainsbury of Moro restaurant and The Zetter hotel, the SRA aims to guide restaurants through what can be a very complicated subject. SRA Managing Director Simon Heppner says, “Everyone knows that sustainability is important, but often it can be overwhelming – people don’t know where to start. What we’re trying to do is break it down into manageable chunks that our members can tackle, and support them along the way. Businesses like the Duke of Cambridge prove that it can be done, and that a sustainable restaurant can be a successful and profitable one.”
The association works closely alongside organisations with expertise in the different topic areas, including London Food Link’s Ethical Eats project (funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund). These organisations help to set the standards upon which the eateries are awarded different sustainability ratings (see 'How does the SRA work?' below). "We are very proud to be one of the first members of the SRA,” says Geetie. “It's so encouraging that the restaurant industry is finally starting to get serious about sustainability. When we opened the Duke in 1998, we had to work all this stuff out for ourselves - it's great that restaurateurs and chefs that want information and guidance on these issues now have somewhere to turn."
The Duke Of Cambridge
30 St Peter's Street London N1 8JT
020 7359 3066
For more information on the SRA see: http://www.thesra.org/
Geetie’s Cookbook, Recipes from the Kitchen of the Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub is published by Grub Street at £18.99 for hardback.
To become a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, restaurants have to pledge to be more sustainable, commit to the SRA’s values, and carry out at least three new sustainable activities from a ‘Charter of Actions’ (assessed on the basis of evidence). To retain their membership, restaurants must tick at least three more boxes on the Charter each year. Members get a Welcome Pack containing fact sheets on 14 topics; access to the members’ area of the SRA website; discounts on goods, services, and entry to events; and a personal account manager to support them on their journey towards becoming a
more sustainable business.
Restaurants that want to move up to the next level can undergo a full sustainability audit, and be rated Champion (gold), Merit (silver) or Commended (bronze), depending on how they score across each topic area and in total.
Savoury Cheesecake with Red Cabbage, Dried Cranberry and Watercress Salad
On a warm spring day, this feels like a summery salad dish when you really need it. Increase or decrease blue cheese and herbs to your taste.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350F/gas 4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and put aside. Place the seeds, digestive biscuits and breadcrumbs in a food processor and combine. Slowly add the melted butter and continue mixing. Add the Parmesan. Grease a 20cm flan tin with a little butter. Push the bread crumb mix into the base of the tin, making sure it is completely covered and flat. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out and allow to cool. Leave the oven on.
Make the filling by placing the eggs in a bowl, beat with a whisk, add cream cheese, crème fraîche and double cream. Whisk together. Crumble the goats’ and blue cheese into the mix.
Clean the leek by cutting it in half lengthwise and washing it under cold water. Remove the outer layer and the very green end and root. Finely slice.
Add the leek, garlic and all the herbs to the egg cream mix. Season, remembering that blue cheese is quite salty.
Fold the mix together and spoon on top of the base. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.Test the cheesecake by shaking it; it should not wobble or look runny in the middle.
Allow to cool and while the cheesecake is cooling, make the cabbage salad. Finely shred the red cabbage (removing the stork). This can be done by hand or with a mandolin; it needs to be very thin. Put in a bowl, add the olive oil and sherry vinegar, and put aside. Soak the cranberries in hot water. After two minutes, drain and add to the red cabbage with the watercress. Season and combine.
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