authors: tom tanner and adya rana

Plastic-free and food waste were buzzwords in restaurants across the world last year, following heightened awareness thanks to Blue Planet 2 and what’s become known as the David Attenborough effect. It’s an exciting time to be in sustainability, with interest and awareness increasing globally.

Since we began judging the awards back in 2013, the level of sustainability of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has increased enormously. This week, Locavore walked away with the Sustainable Restaurant Award at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

So why did the winners win? The clue is in the name – Locavore. Over 95% of the kitchen’s ingredients are Indonesian. The kitchen uses Kintamani coffee, hand-crafted sea salt from north Bali, spices from the mountains and fresh seafood from Eastern Indonesia. In fact, Locavore boasts a five year history in predominantly sourcing local ingredients only from within Indonesia. The restaurant even asks for seeds and seedlings from suppliers in order to share them with other suppliers, to encourage more local growing.

The close ties with local producers and growers extends to a programme which sees Locavore buying whole trees from fruit farmers which gives them guaranteed income and the restaurants confidence in the quality of the produce.

With its own butchery, Locavore is fully equipped to practice its nose to tail ethos – using the whole animal, serving diners some less conventional cuts, wasting as little as it can. The attention to details is equally evident in the seafood dishes on the menu. Frustrated with poor fishing practices, the kitchen team has chosen to avoid ocean species. Instead the menu celebrates fresh water fish. Meat and seafood though are often the secondary ingredient on the plate, recognising the need to move towards more plant-based dishes. One of the 9 course tasting menus is completely vegetable based, and around 90% vegan.

The restaurant’s commitment and attention to detail is just as evident back of house, tackling food waste and single-use plastic head on. All plastic received from suppliers is returned so that it can be reused, and Locavore has its own waste manifesto: all edible kitchen waste is either fed to pigs or composted for the vegetable garden, and waste is collected by Eco Bali Recycling, which ensures its proper disposal.

Chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah’s success would be nothing if it wasn’t for their mission to engage their whole team in their quest to forge a better food future. The dedicated values resonate throughout the team and the staff training reflects the restaurant’s committed environmental values inside and outside of the kitchen.