Top chefs gather to support World Meat Free Week

Chef panel at Tredwells (London)
14/06/2018 - 07:00
Top UK chefs met at Tredwells restaurant (London) this week to discuss the “shift towards plant-based dining,” to coincide with World Meat Free Week (11-17 June).

Claiming that it’s the ‘Netflix generation’ driving the meat-free agenda, the panel included:

  • Chantelle Nicholson - chef patron, Tredwells
  • Russell Bateman - head chef, Colette’s at The Grove
  • Hayden Groves - executive chef, BaxterStorey
  • David Simms – culinary director, Restaurant Associates
  • Steve Groves - head chef, Roux at Parliament Square
  • Helena Puolakka - chef patron, Aster Restaurant

While all serve a number of meat and vegetarian dishes in their establishments, each chef admitted to eatomg plant-based meals at home ‘at least twice a week’ - primarily for health but also sustainability concerns.

Bateman explained: “There’s just so much information out there now…entire feature-length documentaries about intensive farming, the rising population and just how unsustainable our current level of meat consumption is.”

Proving his point, meat production is “already responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.” And with the population expected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050, an extra 200 million tonnes of meat will be required annually if the present rate of consumption continues – only furthering the damage.

Agreeing with Bateman, Nicholson said: “Young chefs are definitely much more open to plant-based food. There’s a lot more information and inspiration out there now, which they’re using to learn and grow from.

“They’re a lot more aware of what’s going on and the challenge that lies before them. And they’re embracing that challenge - learning new techniques and experimenting with ways to create delicious plates using plant-based ingredients. I think that’s a very positive thing.”

Puolakka added: “People are dining out more often, which is having an impact on the amount of choice they want each time.

“We used to have a whole menu with just allergen-free dishes; a whole menu with just gluten-free dishes; a whole menu just for vegetarians and vegans…It all became too much.

“Now we have one menu designed with inclusivity in mind, with something for everybody – whether that’s people with allergies, coelaics, or just people who are trying to eat less meat.”

To put it into perspective, swapping just one meal a week to meat free could save greenhouse gas emissions “equivalent to enough electricity to charge your mobile phone for two years” – or globally, we would save more than 685 billion calories, and the carbon equivalent of boiling a kettle more than 1 trillion times!

To join the chefs and show your support for World Meat Free Week, visit and why not try going veggie at least once this week.

Groves concluded: “People who consciously eat little or no meat – or any animal products at all for that matter – have been around for decades.

“But plant-based diets have only now hit a critical mass and taken root in the mainstream. And health and environmental concerns are no doubt central to that. We’re talking about a shift in long-term attitude, not a fad.”

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