Top chefs back SRA’s #FlipTheMenu campaign

07/08/2017 - 09:48
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has launched its month long campaign, #FlipTheMenu, to encourage the foodservice sector to serve ‘More Veg and Better Meat’. It follows growing health and environmental concerns and also changing consumer demands.

Having hosted an introductory dinner at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen in the spring, the SRA has already received positive feedback from a number of critically acclaimed chefs, including Sam Clark from Moro, Josh Eggleston from Root and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage.

Attempting to steer diners towards plant-based dishes, Sam Clark changed the menu at Moro to feature the mixed vegetable mezze at the top of the main course list, which he claims has boosted sales of the dish by an average of 25%.

Clark said: “Psychologically, people see it [the mezze] sitting proud at the top of the menu, rather than at the bottom as some sort of afterthought. The other big thing, is that once a few people start ordering it, others see it coming out of the kitchen and think ‘wow’ that looks amazing.”

Josh Eggleton, chef patron of the Michelin-starred Pony & Trap, also opened new restaurant Root in collaboration with SRA director, Amelia Twine, centring around the concept of ‘More Veg and Better Meat.’ Each of the ten main dishes are based around one vegetable but customers can choose to add one of five meat and fish options if desired.

Eggleton explained: “It’s astronomical the amount of things you can do with veg. I’ve always liked dishes that focus on one main ingredient, so we’ll be doing that with these small plate dishes – using fabulous fresh produce like the best carrots or cauliflower and creating dishes around them. There’s nothing like restricting the menu to make a chef even more creative!”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose River Cottage restaurants boast 50% veg menus, added: “I believe this approach is crucial for our health and the health of our planet and that’s why I’m right behind the SRA’s More Veg & Better Meat campaign. At River Cottage, we’ve always celebrated fresh, seasonal produce, and glorious, generous vegetables are the very heart and soul of our cooking. The idea of using less meat, and only meat with the very best provenance, is a natural complement to this.”

Not only aimed at chefs and restaurateurs, the campaign is an opportunity for all operators – Pret a Manger demonstrating this with the success of its Veggie Pret stores, and Thali Café having recently opened its sixth site serving 40% vegetable-based dishes and a strict policy of using at the very least free-range meat.

For more information, head to the SRA’s campaign website or join the conversation on social @FoodMadeGood using the hashtag #FlipTheMenu.

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