Despite its humble location, situated just a stone’s throw from a flyover on the A52, this Nottingham-based award-winning, two-Michelin star Restaurant Sat Bains has nurtured a consideration for sustainability over the years. Today it boasts of an urban garden which produces around 40% of its plants and herbs, thus reducing transport, packaging and oversupply to the restaurant.
The green credentials of the restaurant have grown over the past decade. Most recently, founder Sat Bains, the celebrated chef was awarded a fourth Honorary Degree, and his second from the University of Nottingham, after shining a spotlight on sustainability through innovative projects.
“I am not just a chef but a restaurateur as well and I am trying to be as responsible as possible and do the best for the environment. Over the past 10 years, we have worked to become as efficient as possible and as sustainable as possible. We of course always look to see what else we can do and keep trying to improve the way we work,” says Chef Bains on his ever-evolving journey in Sustainability.
Inspired by the organic recycling units used in Australia, Restaurant Sat Bains was one of the first in the UK to put a closed-loop composter in place. It helps break down food waste and creates material that can be matured into compost and used on site. The composter, installed five years ago, drastically reduced Restaurant Sat Bains’ landfill disposal costs, and harvests a nutrient-rich compost.
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“All kitchen waste goes through the composter and we’ve made a saving of about £15,000 a year in waste. The compost is then used on the ground, in our 40 beds (the restaurant doubles up as a bed and breakfast with 8 rooms), on our living walls, and in our greenhouses for fertilising our seeds,”explains Bains.
Other initiatives include two recycled Victorian glasshouses where all the restaurant’s herbs are grown and are picked to order, and the use of water butts all around the premises.
Inside the restaurant, deer-skin tables have enabled the business to radically reduce its laundry bill and use of energy, and Rox water electrolysers, stationed in the pot wash and pastry sections, are used for cleaning down the kitchen resulting in a reduction of chemicals used on site.
Finally, switching to a four-day week to give the team members a better work-life balance has also done wonders for the restaurant’s reputation as the business is simultaneously having less impact on gas and electricity. “We are one day more efficient,” says Chef Sat.
Image courtesy: John Scott Blackwell