Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy Holidays From Amass

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Greetings from Copenhagen!

As the New Year approaches,  we’d like to wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. We can not thank our guests, friends and family enough for the support that has enabled us to become what we are today.

For those who haven’t kept in touch with us over the year, it’s been busy…and productive! We’ve expanded our sustainability initiatives, implemented a farm-to-fork program for Copenhagen schoolchildren, raised some pigs and much, much more. Below are some of the highlights from the past year and what to look forward to in 2016.

Cultivating Sustainability

Coffee Crisp Choco_1 8_2015As many of you know, we take our commitment to sustainability very seriously. From reducing our water usage, cutting down on food waste and starting a closed-loop aquaponics system in our greenhouse, we are constantly asking what more we can do to help the environment. This past June, the Wall Street Journal discussed our initiatives to fight food waste and why sustainability and deliciousness can and should go hand in hand.

In the year 2040…

In a talk given at the Food on the Edge symposium in Galway, Ireland, Chef Orlando imagines  the restaurant of the future and why environmental concerns will change the way the industry operates. Watch the talk below:

Amass Garden Kids Program

DYRK 4.20_7Thanks to the generosity of Danish Ministry of Environment and Food, we have started a farm-to-fork program for at-risk youth in Copenhagen. We’ve teamed up with the urban gardening non-profit, DYRK, and sustainable farming designers, BioARK, to help children plant, harvest and cook their own vegetables while learning about sustainability, environment and food systems. For more information about the program, please click here or go to our website.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Amass Top 100We were thrilled and humbled to be named number 66 on The World 50 Best Restaurant list this past June.  We thank our staff, guests and family for believing in what Amass has become.  With all your support, we will continue to strive and do better every day.

What’s in Store for 2016

We are never at rest and next year is no exception. For those of you that can’t make it to Copenhagen, Matt will be participating in two events this spring: Speaking about food waste at Identitia Golose Millano, March 6-8, in Milan and cooking with chef Enrique Olvera and the team from Los Angeles’ Providence on March 28th. For the most up-to-date information about our upcoming events, please check our website or our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Glædelig Jul og Godt Nytår

The Team at Amass

 

Running a Restaurant in the Not Too Distant Future

Food

Just over a week ago, 190 nations gathered in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. After years of failed meetings, this meeting was extraordinary in that all participating nations, including the EU, United States, India and China, finally pledged to make a concerted and united effort to combat climate change and avoid the catastrophic 2C threshold.

With this in mind, this is the last in our blog series, “On the Path to Sustainability.” We peer into the future of our industry in which climate change is not some remote scenario, but one that is a present and glaring reality.  

Running a Restaurant in the Not Too Distant Future

First, I’m going to have to admit that this talk is purely speculative. My hope is that we never reach the point where the environment is so decimated that all of these policies and practices will be the norm. Whatever does happen in the future, I believe that we need to be proactive. If we wait to respond to an ever-changing world, then it will be too late.

The taxman commeth...

The taxman commeth…

Twenty-five years from now, the restaurant industry will be a very different landscape. We will be one of the highest taxed industries on the planet. These taxes will be based upon our waste output. These taxes will force us to work in particular ways. If we don’t work within these parameters, then it will not be financially possible to run a restaurant. If you think about it, the entire concept of a restaurant is based upon refining a product. And inevitably with that refinement is waste. So instead of just refining, refining, refining, we will have to find ways to re-refine the waste from what has already been “refined.” This process of re-refinement will produce less waste and thus, less tax. We will have to adopt this way of thinking because in the future, the amount of waste that you are allowed to produce will be directly related to the amount of guests that you have in your restaurant. If you exceed your allowed quota, then you will be heavily taxed. Once again, less waste equals less tax.

Green for being green.

Green for being green.

It may seem that I’m making the government to be this voracious tax monster, but in fact they will want to work with us. They will offer tax breaks for many different waste/carbon reducing practices. With regards to the tax for waste, if you produce less waste than your estimated limit, then you receive a tax break. The less trash that municipalities have to remove means lower costs for the city and a lower carbon footprint.

Governments will be quite strict on carbon emissions as well, thus making it too costly to order products from overseas. Again, they will offer rewards to buy local. If you order products from within a certain radius of the restaurant, then you will also be given tax breaks on these products. The closer the product, the less tax you pay on the product. This policy not only reduces carbon emissions, but also has the potential to stimulate the local economy. Because of the link between carbon miles and product, I believe that cuisines will become more defined. They will truly represent their local terroir and environment. Chefs will be forced to innovate, because when tomatoes are out of season, one won’t be able to order them from Spain. There will be no safety net for lack of creativity. I believe we will see a new revolution in culinary innovation on a scale we have never seen before in our industry.

But the carrot and stick approach won’t be limited to the purchasing of products. Governments will start to offer subsidies for restaurants that want to take over reclaimed land to grow their own vegetables. This greatly reduces carbon emissions and allows the restaurant to compost, thus drastically reducing their waste output.

The days of the chateaubriand are over.

The days of the chateaubriand are over.

Then there is the question of how we use the actual products we have. We will have to use the whole product, i.e. the whole animal or plant. It is not simply a question of the amount of waste produced, but also a question of cost. The products we take for granted now will be so expensive that the only way to get a return on our investments will be through use of the entire product.

This future is both scary and exciting. If we wait too long to change how we think, it might be too late. For me, that means being proactive rather than reactive. Of course it is a gamble to change now for a future that might not be a reality, but the price we pay for not acting is much higher.

Tomato Sunset