On the 27th of January, the Michelin Guide debuted its new green clover icon for sustainable gastronomy in its 2020 Michelin Guide to France. The purpose of the emblem is to recognise restaurants for commendable practices in their efforts for the conservation of resources and biodiversity. It also takes into account the use of renewable energy. The Michelin Guide is best known for its top restaurant ratings conducted anonymously and the region-based handbook, the most esteemed in the haute cuisine industry.
The major global movement towards environmental conservation and ecological sustainability has been reflected in developments in many industries, including those of gastronomy and fine dining. Mostly widespread is the celebration of local, seasonal produce, giving each ingredient the attention it deserves and leaving as little to waste as possible. Also, many fine dining establishments grow some (or most) of the ingredients in their own gardens, maximising freshness and ensuring the ingredients are organically sourced.
The clover-decision came as a result of Michelin inspectors becoming increasingly aware of the chefs who make a conscious effort to introduce sustainable practices and making maximum sustainability a priority both for them personally and in their kitchens. One initiative in particular stood out to them, namely the permaculture gardens of the Mirazur restaurant in Southern France. Italian-Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco sources his produce from Mirazur’s two-hectare permaculture garden and said that their team aims for zero waste. Mirazur has three Michelin stars – which means the restaurant is especially worth the journey – and is considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world.
More recently, the restaurant Loam in Galway, Ireland – with one Michelin star – has earned the green clover emblem, under head chef Enda McEvoy who was one of the first chefs in Ireland to champion natural ingredients. As of today, over 50 restaurants have been awarded the clover by the Michelin Guide.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of Michelin Guides commented the following: “Often, these initiatives combine the best of the knowledge of our predecessors with the creativity and innovation of chefs who are never short of ideas. The ambition of our approach is to amplify the scope of the good and ingenious practices of chefs by putting them in the spotlight. The ideas, methods and know-how developed by these chefs will thus help raise awareness of an entire sector to its customers and the general population.”