Does foie gras make you feel liverish?
So where do we draw our sustainable battle lines, I’m often asked? In brief, provided a restaurant wants to improve its sustainability and isn’t serving endangered species then we’ll welcome them to the SRA with open arms.
If, as we do, you want to see sustainability as commonplace in UK restaurants then we can’t limit ourselves to polishing the haloes of a handful of super-eco restaurants.
But what about foie gras, people say? Those poor geese are treated appallingly, surely you can’t condone, or welcome a restaurant profiting at the expense of those poor engorged birds?
Well, I think few would or could defend the methods used to create one of the finest foodie delicacies. But who’s to say serving foie gras is any less defensible than the human cost of having no fair tips policy or the environmental impact of failing to recycle any waste.
The point about sustainability is that it is a very broad concept encompassing many different and diverse aspects. One man’s red line is another’s fringe interest.
We’ve debated this long and hard in the office, heatedly on occasion. Some restaurants feel the same way, bemoaning the emphasis given to one aspect of sustainability over another in the SRA Sustainability Rating system. Tweeters and other friends of the SRA share their opinions with us too and there is no right answer. All aspects of sustainability are important, it’s just that, rightly or wrongly, for some, geese are more equal than others.