What does sustainability mean in gastronomy?
The idea of “sustainable development” was broadly defined during the Rio-summit in 1992. “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, was a definition given by the Brundtland Commission. Sustainability of our food system is a major topic in gastronomy. Our necessity to eat is one of our basic needs and plays a central role in the life of human existence. To maintain our life we need a stable sources of food. All food must be grown, processed, distributed, eaten and disposed of. Restaurants, hotels, canteens, hospitals and schools have differing requirements and considerations when implementing sustainability issues.
The implementation of ‘sustainable cuisine’ places new challenges on cooks which are not always taught in typical professional training currently available. This applies to the areas of food source for example seasonable availability of different foods storage, development of menus, process planning in the kitchen, calculation of quantities and prices, cooking practices, and the description of dishes on the menu. The use of organic foods also requires the proper handling of the statutory criteria of the EU regulation on organic production. For last twenty or so years there have been studies done on how to realise ecological, social, economic and health oriented sustainability goals in the “daily eating habits” of citizens, also with an emphasis on how to increase awareness among the general public.
Gastronomy is subject to specific economic, social and organisational requirements and limitations, which have to be taken be considered before implementing “sustainable cuisine”. Achieving sustainability in cooking implies a long-term commitment to continuous improvement.