As today is Earth Day, a few Miami chefs chimed in on how they try to reduce waste or recycle at their restaurants.
Jen Chaefsky, owner and general manager of Macchialina:
“Our water glasses are made out of recycled wine bottles. It’s something small, but every little bit helps; plus it’s a cool element that guests love to learn about.”
Sam Gorenstein, chef and owner of My Ceviche:
“So much of our business is to-go or delivery that it became super important that we incorporate greener disposable containers. We also embrace sustainable fishing practices, especially with stone crabs, which actually regenerate their claws.”
Sean Brasel, chef and owner of Meat Market on Miami Beach:
“We're installing an Eco-safe Organic Waste Decomposition System in the restaurant. We use paper products rather than plastic, and all takeaway containers are recycled and biodegradable.”
Chef Allen Susser, consulting chef and owner of Daily Melt:
“Our funky red chairs at the Daily Melt are made out of recycled Coca-Cola bottles."
Andreas Schreiner, owner of Pubbelly Restaurants:
“We use the Vero water filtration system instead of buying bottled water to reduce waste.”
Giorgio Rapicavoli, chef and owner of Eating House:
“We use Vero filtered water, recycle old menus as coasters and are building our own kick-ass garden. We also partnered with All ‘Bout Trees for our uniforms – they make clothing from eco-friendly organic cotton and they support the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation who plants trees that feed the poor.”
More local restaurants seem to be serving filtered water, using systems like Vero, as a more sustainable alternative to bottled water. Some restaurants pass on a surcharge for this water (generally a $1 per diner); others offer it for free (or at least pass on the cost in some other way).
Around the time this trend was taking off around the country, San Francisco writers Michael Bauer and W. Blake Gray wondered about passing on the cost to diners--was it a legitimate environmental move, a new way for restaurants to make money in a tough economy, or both? More on this later.