Pioneering sustainable haute cuisine
The Dutch-born chef Richard Ekkebus has been the heart and face of Amber and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, for 18 years. He is always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance social and environmental sustainability, while staying true to the highest gastronomical standards.
His Dutch upbringing may have instilled a sense of thriftiness, but chef Ekkebus always insisted on using resources carefully. For him it is common sense to reduce waste, save water and energy and find alternatives to single-use plastic - to name a few of Amber’s actions. Over the years Ekkebus has discovered and implemented often remarkably sensible ways to close loops, and he shares his findings generously on The Sustainable Restaurant Association (Formerly known as Food Made Good) with a dedicated lecture series airing this fall.
A page from Amber’s cookbook
So what are the actions Amber takes on a daily basis to reduce its carbon footprint? They have the basics firmly in place such as responsible sourcing, prioritizing local produce, experimenting with plant-based alternatives and creatively processing leftovers with the help of an anaerobic digester. But Amber is also home to some more pioneering efforts:
- Cooking oil is picked up on a weekly basis and turned into biodiesel for fishermen’s boats.
- Working closely with local enterprise - Farmhouse Productions- and the truck that delivers fruits and vegetables picks up eggshells and coffee grounds, valuable resources for compost to enrich Hong Kong soil.
- Amber also works with a local brewery Young Master that uses leftover sourdough bread and lychee surplus as ingredients for new beers, and
- A next, ambitious step for Amber will be to conduct external audits on sustainable action to ensure accountability.
Ekkebus will surely keep on exploring new ways to save valuable resources and sharing his knowledge, passing on the built legacy to the industry.
Picture credits: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental