Why FYN Restaurant Won the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award at The World’s 50 Best
Held in Valencia this year, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – the biggest event on the calendar of the food world and sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna – culminated in a much-anticipated awards ceremony on June 20th.
The Sustainable Restaurant Association has a longstanding partnership with The World’s 50 Best, and we take great pride in judging the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award. This year, we were delighted to name FYN Restaurant in Cape Town as the winner, with our Managing Director Juliane Caillouette Noble presenting the award on the night.
Read on for a bit of background on how the team at FYN makes sustainability an everyday priority and why they deserve to be named the 2023 World’s Best Sustainable Restaurant.
FYN is named after fynbos, a type of vegetation native to the Cape Floral Kingdom. Comprising 13 protected areas in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces, this area is unique in terms of plant biodiversity, density and number of endemic species. This name not only demonstrates the passion the restaurant has for showcasing local ingredients, but also highlights the role that ingredients from the Western Cape Region played in the critical role in the survival of mankind – something that feels apt given the state of the current global climate.
Working with the African Centre for Coastal Paleoscience, the team has discovered a vast array of edible resources within the Cape Floristic Kingdom.
This celebration of unique local ingredients forms an ongoing backdrop to all of FYN's work; serving a Japanese inspired menu, but with a twist that showcases the best of local ingredients and ethical farming methods, from plants to seafood and meat.
The ethos at FYN is that food should be good for the people that eat it, good for those who grow it or find it, and good for the planet.
We looked at FYN’s sustainability practices under our three key focus areas for the Food Made Good Standard: Sourcing, Society and Environment. Here are just a few of the points that really stood out.
How FYN approaches sourcing
FYN Restaurant only sources ingredients from suppliers that are committed to sustainable practices, and makes a point of meeting suppliers and visiting their premises. The restaurant shares provenance of all its ingredients with guests and uses special events with well-known chefs to highlight specific ingredients, such as the collaboration between Chef Peter Tempelhoff and Texas Chef Ched Kent Rathburn, which showcased FYN’s local wagyu supplier. The wagyu is locally sourced from Cape Wagyu, where cattle are pasture-reared and roam freely. Likewise, the restaurant’s pork is sourced from pigs that lead a fully free-range life across vast areas, and is hormone and medicine free.
FYN supports ‘Fish With A Story’, South Africa’s first community supported fishery. This premium quality seafood is fully traceable, and is caught and produced by small-scale fisherfolk using low-impact fishing methods. Yellow-fin tuna is sourced seasonally from reputable South African flagged vessels, which use sustainable methods with no bycatch.
With over 50% of menu’s being suitable for vegetarians or vegans, FYN is passionate about showcasing local plant-based ingredients such as dune spinach, sea lettuce, kelp, tomatoes, squash and pineapple. Vegetables come from Meuse Farm, which practices ecological conservation and regeneration. The team here builds the physical, biological and chemical health of the soil through cover cropping, crop rotation and low-impact tillage. They only produce what is in season and work in conjunction with nature without the use of synthetic fertilisers, sprays or pesticides.
The chefs at FYN are also encouraged to forage and taught to respect local ingredients. The restaurant’s passion in this area really shines through. “We are committed to discovering the value chain […], ensuring that we can tell the story about what is on every plate with a sense of pride and integrity.”
At FYN, sustainability includes society
FYN partners with Infinity Culinary Training in Cape Town, which works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to provide them with the necessary skills to become chefs. The restaurant creates employment opportunities for this programme; one example is Lucas, a young member of a gang. Originally employed as a sculler in FYN, Lucas has seen fantastic progression and is now an Executive Sous Chef.
Maintaining high morale amongst staff is seen as a central goal, and team members here are treated as family: they come from diverse backgrounds, but feel unified in pursuit of a common purpose. One example of fostering a positive work environment was the staff gathering that included a live performance from Majozi, one of South Africa’s top musicians.
FYN also views itself as an integral part of the community. Recent initatives have raised more than R1 million for immediate and long-term hunger relief programmes, and Peter cooks at ArtAngels, an annual charity event raising money for the education of disadvantaged youths.
When it comes to the health impact of FYN’s menus, the restaurant argues that their food is better than scientific nutritional guidelines. “Guests can savour the very best of nature in a clean, beautiful way that celebrates the ingredients and showcases the region through its ingredients.”
FYN’s environmental commitment
The team at FYN recognises that the restaurant’s actions and choices affect the environment in real ways. Continuous improvement is central to FYN’s environmental ethos, with the restaurant committing to monitoring and measuring their environmental performance regularly to identify areas for improvement as well as setting targets and action plans to achieve them.
The restaurant is located in the Cape Province, where water scarcity is always front of mind. FYN pays particular attention to water conservation; team members are trained in water management and practical water saving applications, as well as being encouraged to work towards reduction targets. Regular audits are undertaken to identify possible leaks or improvements. Included in some of these measures are reusing water for cleaning and watering plants.
Find more information about FYN here. To learn more about the Food Made Good Standard and how we measure sustainability through a holistic view of sourcing, social and environmental factors, click here!
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