A restaurant where sustainability is not measured in terms of financial profits.
A restaurant where environmental and ecological factors are equally important. An owner who walks the walk and envisions further methods of reducing the ecological footprint of the cafe.
Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong owner, Kylie Kwong,has been recognised with winning the inaugural Sustainability Award, a salute to restaurants that do their bit for the environment, as well as diners.
Five years ago, Kwong decided to lessen her restaurant's impact on the planet. She began by converting her conventional Chinese pantry to organics and biodynamics, painstakingly replacing ready-made oyster and hoisin sauces with additive- and preservative-free alternatives. "It's been great," she says. "And we've had to become really creative. Every week we'd look around and work out how to improve things. It was a complete revelation."
This is a woman who wears her convictions as a badge of pride - and lists her causes on her website, from Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Foundation to Fair Trade, Oxfam and the BFA (Biological Farmers of Australia, an organics certifying body).
Diners at Billy Kwong can donate to the restaurant's renewable energy credits program, purchased from a wind farm in the Chinese province of Hebei. And there's no bottled water; it's Sydney tap water run through a filter.
"Every time I think of a new provedore or using an ingredient, I ask whether it's sustainable," Kwong says. "I think about its carbon footprint, whether it's ethically produced and about serving food that has been harvested with love and integrity. Knowing the growers means you treat produce with respect. It's also a way of re-humanising the food chain."
Each of the top ten restaurants demonstrate how environmental sustainability can contribute to a profitable business and give back to the community.
Luke Nguyen's Vietnamese restaurant composts and recycles and uses a waterless wok burner. It uses line-caught fish; free-range pork and beef; and organic fruit, vegetables, coffee and poultry.
Courtney's Brasserie at Parramatta uses a blackboard map that traces a 200-kilometre radius around chef Paul Kuipers, in which he searches for local produce with an emphasis on seasonality and organics.
Eurolounge at Castle Hill is an example of thinking globally and acting locally, with the kitchen scraps and coffee grinds going to local gardeners, shredded paper recycled by a pet store and a menu seeking local produce and organic wines.
Becasse Chef Justin North buys straight from the farm gate, forming strong bonds with farmers who share his approach to sustainability. In return, he showcases their work in regular producer lunches.
From Sean's Panaroma we learn that every week for more than a decade, Sean Moran has taken scraps to his Blue Mountains hideaway to nurture the land, returning with the rewards, from fruit and herbs to eggs, chicken and even beef. Order herbal tea and they'll pick it fresh.