I’m thrilled to be helping to share the news that an ethos of sourcing locally, championing seasonality, and radically minimising food waste has seen The Pasture Restaurant group secure a 3* ‘Food Made Good’ Rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA); they are the first independently owned restaurant in Wales to achieve the respected accreditation.
Pasture restaurants are a celebration of fire-based cooking and local ingredients; in-house butchers handpick and prepare homegrown vegetables and meat from selected local farms raising grass-fed cattle, and a team of chefs use this produce to cook modern dishes which change with the seasons.
Environment, sourcing and society
Sam Elliott is the 35-year-old Chef-Owner behind The Pasture Restaurant group – which comprises two restaurants in Bristol (Pasture, opened in 2018, and Radius opened last year); and two restaurants in Cardiff (a second Pasture, which opened in 2020, and Parallel which opened earlier this year). In 2024, Sam will also be opening Prime by Pasture; a butchery, deli, cookery school and burger joint in the Redcliffe Quarter, Bristol; and Pasture Birmingham at Fifteen Colmore Row in Birmingham city centre.
Since Pasture was founded in 2018, Sam has always been passionate about working closely with local suppliers to operate in a responsible way. Under this way of working, Pasture has scored highly in all three categories assessed by the SRA, achieving an overall total of 72%.
- Environment: Pasture’s highest scoring category, the SRA commented on the group’s ‘extensive steps’ to tackle food waste – including composting all inedible food waste in an on-site anaerobic digester. Pasture’s staff are also trained on food waste prevention, all used cooking oil is recycled, all cooking charcoal is sourced sustainably, and suppliers are carefully chosen for their own commitments to environmentally sustainable practices.
- Sourcing: Pasture excelled this category by maintaining direct and transparent relationships with its small-scale, local suppliers. Additionally, Pasture runs its own farm, Buttercliffe Farm (see below) just outside Bristol, where heritage produce is grown for the restaurants, and where staff are taken to learn about provenance and seasonality.
- Society: Pasture was commended for demonstrating its commitment to wider society by working only with suppliers who share its values. It also uses profits from filtered water sales to donate to local charities tackling homelessness and mental health issues.
The knock-on effect
It’s great to see Pasture being recognised for the efforts they make to invest in truly local supply chains and more sustainable farming practices. There’s an inherent transparency in their approach, which stands in stark difference to the way that some of the bigger chains have started using carbon offsets to greenwash their way into the sustainability conversation. (I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see Goucho’s ridiculous ‘carbon neutral steak‘ claims parroted by the press; rather than support regenerative UK farms, the restaurant group say they plant thousands of trees to fully ‘offset’ the impact of selling imported beef raised and slaughtered in Argentina and Japan).
Working closely with the Pasture team as they went through the SRA accreditation process (as part of my day job in hospitality PR), it has been uplifting to hear how their more tangible actions are creating a ripple effect across their supply chain. Pasture’s Head of Culture and Sustainability Alec Wilkinson explained:
“To achieve this rating meant going through an extensive deep dive of our whole operation – but through such a rigorous process, we’ve been able to accurately evidence our commitment to sustainability for the first time. We’ve also seen this have a knock-on effect with our staff who are coming to us with new ideas – and also with producers in our supply chain; many of those we work with are now looking at ways to improve, formalise or communicate their own sustainable actions and commitments moving forwards, which is great to see.”
Pearl Costello is the Sustainable Food Places Coordinator at FoodCardiff – the city’s rapidly growing food partnership; Food Cardiff is also the organisation behind the campaign to make Cardiff one of the UK’s most sustainable food places by 2024 (find out more here). On Pasture’s recent 3* SRA accreditation, Pearl added,
“It is wonderful to see the first independent restaurant in Wales with a 3* SRA accreditation based right here in the capital city. Cardiff has a growing ‘good food movement’ and the hope is that where Pasture has set this example, more local restaurants will soon follow.”
To find out more about the Pasture restaurant group, visit: https://pasturerestaurant.com.