#1 Massimo Bottura
Massimo Bottura, Italian restauranteur and chef patron of Osteria Francescana was named the top restaurant in the world by World’s 50 Best. Osteria Francescana is a three-Michelin star restaurant based in Modena, Italy. Needless to say, he’s masterful at his craft. What is admirable about Bottura is his vigor toward not only creating delicious food but also changing the world by reducing food waste. Bottura turned an abandoned theater in a Milan suburb into Refettorio, a soup kitchen that turned over 15 tons of excess food into meals for the homeless, working poor, and refugees. He remains a champion in reducing food waste–one of the prime issues of the restaurant industry–and has even formed his own non-profit Food for Soul to encourage sustainable practices in the food industry to reduce food waste.
#2 Dan Barber
Dan Barber hails from Manhattan’s West Village as the Chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Also known as a “chef-thinker” or chef and scholar, Barber is a philosopher of sorts when it comes to food–emphasizing the importance of pleasure and thoughtful conservation, knowing the source of the food on your plate, and the process of how your food got there. Barber evangelizes agricultural policies to push forth more a model of environmental responsibility. His book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, explores the world of food beyond “farm-to-table” to propose a revolutionary way of delicious and ethical eating. His mission is to educate and push Americans toward a future of food that is as sustainable as it is delicious.
#3 Melissa Kelly
Melissa Kelly is the Executive Chef and proprietor of Primo, a restaurant located in Maine, US. Kelly and her partner have spent over a decade cultivating a farm on Primo’s 4.5-acre property that serves as the main source of the ingredients she uses for the restaurant. Having access to her own farm means that she is in control of how the ingredients are grown from start to finish and can ensure the freshest and highest quality of ingredients are being served. It also means that kitchen waste can be recycled or composted properly. She spreads the importance of farm fresh local ingredients to aspiring young cooks and educates others about the true farm-to-table philosophy.
#4 Jose Garces
Jose Garces is not only an Iron Chef, but he’s also an author, restauranteur, and the owner of Luna Farms, 40-acres of farmland aimed to grow fresh organic vegetables, fruits, eggs, and honey year-round in Ottsville, PA. Luna Farm plays a critical role in supporting the Garces Foundation and its mission to educate children about the nutritional benefits of sustainable agriculture, meal preparation, and healthy eating.
#5 Eneko Atxa
Azurmendi, a Michelin 3-Star restaurant located near Bilbao, Spain, named Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World, is the product of famed chef, Eneko Atxa, who is also one of the youngest chefs to ever achieve 3 Michelin Stars. The Azurmendi restaurant was designed and built on sustainability, Atxa’s philosophy to life and cooking. The building itself reuses rainwater for the garden, greenhouses, toilets and more. The large open windows make you feel like you are outdoors and takes advantage of the sunlight to reduce the need for artificial light and energy, it produces renewable energy to cover part of the restaurant’s energy needs, and produces a portion of the ingredients used in the kitchen in their greenhouses on site–planting more than 800 trees to reduce CO2. The building as a whole is a testament to the commitment to sustainability Atxa is advocating for–a truly inspirational masterpiece.
#6 Filip Fasten
Michelin-starred Agrikultur, run by Filip Fasten in Stockholm, offers what Fasten calls “Nordic Comfort Food”, a prix fix menu of vegetable-based dishes where the protein is used to enhance the flavor depth rather than to be the star of the dish. He sources his produce and food from local farms and uses flavors that honor the land. The menu changes constantly to celebrate seasonable harvests to ensure the freshest quality, flavor, and helps the community, including hunting his own game during hunting season to serve at the restaurant.
Reducing food waste, eliminating added chemicals and processing from food, and locally sourcing food products are the biggest ways these Michelin-rated chefs and restauranteurs are helping to lead change in the food industry.
Some of these ideas can be adopted into your own daily life using methods of composting, nurturing your own organic garden, and buying what you need instead of what you want, locally. The best chefs in the world know exactly where their food is coming from and how it was produced or raised–whether it’s from their own farms or from a local farmer. Do you know where your food is from, or what went into producing it?