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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

SEA Change: Take a trip to Great Britain, support sustainable food

Published: October 17, 2008
Section: Opinions

Hello Brandeisians and all people who eat. In this week’s issue we will be traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to visit a restaurant and chef in Great Britain, a chef who goes by the name Barney Haughton. Why is this chef gaining an incredible amount of popularity including frequent visits by Prince Charles? The answer is because he is currently a famous chef at the well-respected restaurant Quartier Vert and he has nearly finished building one of the first eco-friendly restaurants in Bristol, UK that aims to be zero-wase and carbon-neutral, the Bordeaux Quay. Bordeaux Quay is not only a restaurant, but a bar, bakery, shop, bistro and cooking school as well; all of which strive to be the most environmentally conscious. The building was built from an old 1920’s warehouse, whose old doors, shopfront, bar, equipment, and toilets were a few of the many structures that were recycled during refurbishment. The floors are made of Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, the carpets from recycled materials, and the tablecloths and napkins from organic and Fairtrade companies. The countertops are made from recycled cell phones and the tables and dishware are washed using harvested rainwater and small amounts detergents that are set out to dry in the plantroom; this way little to no excess energy is used to wash and dry plateware. Also, approximately 60% of Bordeaux Quays electricity and installation costs will be saved by not having any air conditioning or heating system; ventilation ducts will be used in the summer and heat from the kitchens harvested and pumped into othe dining halls in the winter. And since Barney Haughton is a busy guy, Bordeaux Quay hired their own sustainability director who will ensure that all efforts made in the facility will keep the level of carbon emissions at zero.Walking outside the building, one can spot where Bordeaux Quay will utilize a massive composting system that is eventually transported to the farmers who supply the restaurant. Local farmers, within a fifty mile radius, will provide nearly all Bordeaux Quay’s ingredients, including meats, cheese, vegetables, but not olive oil, wine or peppercors whose transport costs are relatively small. Also, since Haughton orders whole animals and all types of local seafood, the menu will include dishes that use all parts of the animals as well as fruits, vegetables, and fish that are in season only. Lastly, he will keep all the glass jars his facility orders and fill them with jams and sauces to be sold in his store in the winter time. All these features explored above are the basics behind Bordeaux Quay and I simply do not have enough column space to include every aspect of his facility that he has considered, but if you are interested in more details visit

Barney Haughton is considered one of the “greatest generals in the organic army,” and has been an important advocate of local, organic, and sustainable cooking. He hopes to spread his enthusiasm and knowledge about eco-frriendly cooking by investing in his cooking school and educating his students about the importance of the movement towards local and sustainable cooking. This past week Haughton was awarded the Independent Spirit Award for his promotional efforts, and on October 23-27 he plans on biking 1500k from Bristol, UK to Torino, Italy. His goal, not surprisingly, is to promote food education, so along the way he will stop at markets, restaurants, and farmhouses to talk, share, and encourage green food production. His bike ride will raise funds for his cookery school as well as the Community Food Education Programme which currently works alongside local schools, helping them achieve local and sustainable agriclture. Haughton hopes to raise $30,000, so if you would like to donate, visit the Slow Food website,, and contact Claire Allen. The sustainable food movement has become increasingly popular because researchers show that eliminating excessive transportation of food can greatly reduce carbon emissions. Although it may be more cost effective to import a good from across the country, the truth is that shipping those goods a long distance significantly pollutes the environment. As students at Brandeis, we have some choice in the sustainability of our foods but cetainaly as we graduate we will have complete control over how we contribute to reducing emissions and boosting local economy by eating sustainably.