Celebrity Chef Opens Innovative Zero-Waste Restaurant 

Chef-Owner of World’s First Fully Sustainable Restaurant Explains Why Going Zero-Waste is ‘The Right Thing to Do’ and Shares Struggles Without Rubbish Bins

Douglas McMaster, the chef-owner of Silo, a restaurant in London that is dubbed as the world’s first fully sustainable establishment, shares his journey towards zero-waste cooking practices and stresses the importance of minimizing waste in the food industry. In a recent talk hosted by the sustainable-food movement MAD, McMaster explained that he stumbled upon the concept of zero-waste cooking while working as a chef in different renowned restaurants that prioritize sustainability.

According to McMaster, his journey began when he worked at Fergus Henderson’s St John in London, a nose-to-tail restaurant that values sustainability. From there, he went on to stage at various other prominent restaurants such as Noma in Denmark and Fäviken in Sweden, which further solidified his commitment to sustainable practices in the culinary field. However, it wasn’t until he encountered an exhibit by interdisciplinary artist Joost Bakker, who constructed buildings capable of growing food, that he became truly inspired to pursue zero-waste cooking.

McMaster recounted how he visited an exhibit by Joost Bakker in Sydney, Australia, in 2011, which featured a structure that showcased how waste materials could be repurposed to create a self-sufficient building capable of producing food. This experience left a profound impact on him and prompted him to seek out similar projects to focus on for the remainder of his career.

When asked if it would be possible to operate a restaurant without any rubbish bins, Chef McMaster was initially taken aback by the idea. Nevertheless, he agreed to take up the challenge, and this decision eventually led to the opening of Silo, which gained global recognition as the first fully sustainable restaurant.

Operating without rubbish bins poses its challenges, and McMaster admits that managing waste at his restaurant is quite difficult. He believes that the traditional food system is indirect and unnecessarily generates vast amounts of waste. To tackle this issue, Silo sources products directly from local farmers, employs reusable containers for transporting goods, and utilizes composting machines to process organic waste.

Although Silo has achieved remarkable success by implementing sustainable practices, McMaster acknowledges that there is still room for improvement. Currently, the restaurant collects the remaining non-compostable waste, such as plastic bottles and old electronics, into alien waste bins that are eventually transformed into art installations. Although the number of these bins is minimal, McMaster envisions a future where they won’t be needed at all.

Despite the challenges, McMaster remains committed to his goal of achieving complete sustainability in the food industry. As concerns over climate change continue to rise, he anticipates that more chefs will adopt zero-waste practices, and consumers will increasingly demand environmentally responsible options. McMaster firmly believes that embracing sustainability in the food sector is essential for the health of the planet and the survival of future generations.