I’ve decided to broaden my horizons in gastronomy in a new way. I’ve visited restaurants using top technologies, the best ingredients, the most sophisticated (almost military-like) systems, with the friskiest food presentation, the most beautiful environment or the strongest story… but something was still missing. Most restaurants wasted food and their employees didn’t usually care about their impact on the society and the environment. Silo, a zero-waste restaurant founded and ran by Douglas McMaster was exactly the important piece missing in my puzzle.
They produce no waste (yes, they really have no waste bins!) because the ingredients are delivered in re-usable crates by farmers, and they’re able to process whole animals and all the ingredients in their kitchen. And if something really is left over, they feed it into their compost machine to generate compost in 24 hours and send it back to the farmers.
What is not consumed gets distributed
There is a café at the entrance where you can buy sandwiches and sweet pastry. The food that is not sold by the afternoon is either eaten by the staff or given away to people in the street. The coffee grounds from the coffee machine are used to grow mushrooms or they use coffee waste for cooking ; the unused milk is used to make cheese.
The restaurant buys vegetables and fruits which don’t meet the retail chain standards and quality cheese of different shapes or consistency that can’t be sold in stores and would be thrown away otherwise.
Moreover, Silo also grinds its own flour and tries to avoid white sugar. The restaurant interior has been made from recycled materials. All employees like this philosophy and they’re happy to take part in the concept.
Three ingredients are enough
Now, you might think I work for a half-empty hipster-hippie bistro where everyone is running around in a tie-dyed T-shirt, hugging each other, and where the staff can’t see gastronomy for all the green stuff which might be sustainable but there sure must be a rub (like hidden plastic packages) somewhere… Well, the opposite is true!
Douglas worked for St. John’s for many years and got practice in some of the world-famous 50 Best restaurants, such as Noma, Fäviken, Fat Duck or Attica where he learnt the best things he could.
Meals at Silo are simple, from up to three ingredients and absolutely perfect because pure taste is a must here. Everyone in Brighton knows this, so the place is crowded every day, and Silo has been known as the best restaurant in the town.
Lunch for Relae chefs
Every day, Douglas tells us how everything works and explains how the restaurant’s approach is not only eco-friendly, but also cost-effective.
Last week, the chefs from Relae in Copenhagen (the restaurant which has been awarded as the most sustainable of 50 best restaurants this year – for the second time) came for lunch. Douglas asked me to prepare something from the left-over lovage, so I made lovage ice-cream and he served it with blackberries as a dessert for Relae chefs.
To make the long story short: I gain a lot of inspiration and I do love it here. Next week, I’ll send you some information from another kitchen stage, this time in Stockholm. If it works out, I’ll be in the kitchen where they use only open fire instead of electricity for cooking.
Who is Jana Bilikova
Jana has a honours degree in law but she has always been more interested in wooden spoons and pans than in laws and regulations. Although she had no experience, she started to work for the SaSaZu restaurant and later, for Kampa Park. When Oldřich Sahajdák, a Michelin chef, offered her a job, she didn’t hesitate and said yes. When she worked for La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, she went went to work stays at Alinea or Fat Duck; last year, she spent the whole summer in Fäviken. At present she works as a creative chef at Ambiente.