Head Chef Chris Whittaker walks the walk

Chris Whittaker, Head Chef of Vancouver’s most recent sustainable eatery located in the Listel Hotel, was born to forage. Not only does this Ontario-born native grow his own vegetables, catch his own fish and make his own preserves, he also composts all of his food waste, keeps his own bees on hand to pollinate his plants, hunts for the purpose of conserving land and feeding his family, and (of course) forages to connect himself with nature.

Whittaker says that foraging for him means “that we no longer seek out excess and indulgence, but instead revisit a time when we respected the land and oceans and took only what we needed to survive. It is about being stewards of our land and true conservationists, as we conduct our business and live our lives. It is about goodness, about taking care of each other, and bringing together our community over good food.” In addition to meeting some incredible high sustainability standards, serving up local and responsibly sourced foods isn’t bad for business either.

A sustainable partnership

If you didn’t get the sustainable vibe from the name itself, the restaurant location is the next hint. Restaurant goers will find Forage in the Listel Hotel, a Tourism Ambassador for Conservation and a Corporate Climate Leader for the City of Vancouver, boasting a zero-waste policy, using solar panels to generate electricity and equipped with a state of the art heat capture program. Beat that!

Where does Forage fit in? Forage complements the ongoing efforts of the Listel Hotel by focusing it’s efforts on energy-efficiency, water conservation, composting and by supporting local/responsible purchasing, basing every decision on two key factors: sustainability and profitability. It’s a business plan that when talking about sustainable restaurants, sounds rather familiar – don’t you think?

How to make an impact, by blending in

Ironically, that’s what makes this restaurant such a great ambassador for start up restaurants with a sustainable mandate. According to the Forage website, given the ethical importance of “farm to table” dining, the goal of sustainable restaurant owners shouldn’t be to go to their wits end to stand out, but to join a community of restaurants  dedicated to providing customers with food sourced in a sustainable way,  suggesting that sustainability is what “unites most of Vancouver’s finest chefs”. It’s not a particularly unbiased statement but we’ll bite.

In the end, responsible dining is a very real, and very current, trend started by diners in order to find a connection to items on the menu that ultimately end up on their plate –and from the sounds of it, the staff at Forage are ready to serve it up using products from local and organic farmers, fishermen and producers whenever possible.

Consider this a call to action would-be restaurant owners! Join the movement towards responsible dining and don’t be afraid to make your restaurant, a sustainable one. You can find more about Forage on their website, or follow the Forage blog at The Next Course.

image credit: frangrit