On World Environment Day, a panel discussion, by LetMeBreathe and UN Environment Programme: Chef’s Manifesto, was held around ‘Chef’s Roundtable: Combating Plastic Pollution in the Food Industry’.
The five-membered panel moderated by food columnist, author and food historian Anoothi Vishal drew out the best in the industry to discuss ways to combat the plastic menace, Chef Manisha Bhasin, Chef Amrita Raichand, Chef Danielle Leoni, and Chef Megha Kohli highlighted various aspects including innovative solutions to small changes in behaviour that will help fight plastic pollution in the hospitality industry.
Discussing the social change in the younger generation towards the environment, Chef Manisha highlighted how today the decision to choose a hotel is based on the responsible luxury ethos that the hotel follows among the public. “The more you are environmentally sustainable at the hotel chain, the more people are gravitating towards you,” she added.
Talking about change, Chef Amrita shared an important step she took as an environment conscious individual. She said, “I had signed up with a company, who also used cling wrap, to endorse their product… and as COVID-19 happened and as we all started getting even more environmentally conscious, I took that very big step of cancelling the contract. I said I have to be conscious, It has to begin at home.”
Moreover, Chef Danielle pointed out, “It’s uncanny how much plastic is there in our food. We take a piece of plastic and send it to the recycling facility… the unfortunate part of that is when plastic is recycled it is quite toxic and there are a lot of byproducts, very toxic ash left behind.”
Meanwhile, Chef Megha shared her learning. “I had read that we don’t need a handful of people saying no to plastic perfectly and following it perfectly in their life, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Giving an example of a simple practice she has been following for a few years to avoid usage of plastic, Chef Megha’s endnotes included how small changes could have a bigger impact.