Ondy Sweeting talks sustainability at one of Ubud’s leading restaurants.
Chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah created Bali’s game changing Locavore restaurant in Ubud with the notion to create food and drinks using more than 95 per cent local ingredients. The duo’s extraordinary culinary skills and altruistic business plan struck gold.
Since 2013 when Locavore opened as Bali’s first fine dining restaurant dedicated to ‘local, seasonal and ethical food products’, the operation has turned into an empire that includes Nusantara – a traditional Indonesian restaurant; the intensively creative cocktail bar Night Rooster; Bali’s first ethical butcher called Local Parts; Locavore To Go, a take-out café cum delicatessen; and Localab where experiments are constantly underway in what looks more like a science lab than a test kitchen.
Unsurprisingly and after many years of hard work this year they won the top gong in the sustainable Restaurant Award at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, presented to the restaurant with the highest environmental and social responsibility rating as determined by audit partner Food Made Good.
Let’s just touch on social responsibility and how important it is to develop permanent relationships with local producers. Keeping the lines of communication always open Ray and Eelke ensure the freshest seasonal produce and ethically raised meat animals. Locavore goes all out to support sustainability within its community and of course within the kitchen itself, it is an important part of the package. Ingredients are grown locally and foraged within Indonesia’s many islands. Food waste is recycled into fermented sauces; the remains of citrus fruits are made into detergent and off cut stems morph into herb salt. Solar panels cover the roof of the restaurant and there are plans forging ahead to go off-grid.
In the constant search to lower the Locavore carbon footprint even further the boys turned their attention to their choice of water. As you can imagine guests, chefs, staff and the kitchen use vast amounts of the stuff, so the aim was to find a single, local water producer. “Seek and ye shall find” it is said – they of course did, and welcomed BALIAN Natural Mineral Water to each and every table throughout the Locavore venues.
It doesn’t need an environmental scientist to tell us that lugging water from one country to another in plastic or glass bottles makes zero sense and the time to go local is now. BALIAN prevails and is served at the tasteful tables in glass bottles; it rolls in pots and pans in the kitchens, is the basis for divine cocktails and fishy sauces and quenches the thirst at the busy galleys and lab.
BALIAN is sourced from neither aquifer or from industrial complexes from abroad, but directly from a natural spring right here on the slopes of Gunung Agung, and locally trucked direct to the doors of Locavore. Give or take a few kilometres (around 62 actually) – could that make BALIAN possibly the shortest travelled water of all?
“There are 260 million people in Indonesia and we have 60 working with us,” said Eelke. “We are just a drop, in the ocean but you have to start somewhere,” he said. “It’s better to be a part of the solution than to be a part of the problem.” Amen to that.
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