Scrabster restaurant wins top UK award
The Captain’s Galley crowned Sustainable Restaurant of the Year
Britain’s most northerly mainland restaurant that strictly serves seafood in season, was today (23 February) named Sustainable Restaurant of the Year.
Raymond Blanc, President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, presented the award to Jim Cowie, owner chef of The Captain’s Galley, at a gala lunch for 250 of the UK’s top chefs and restaurateurs in London.
Jim, who worked as a fish trader for 35 years and had never so much as boiled an egg before opening his harbour-side restaurant in Scrabster, Caithness 13 years ago, now serves customers dishes like monkfish liver and saithe in ginger and miso broth.
The Captain’s Galley, which was also named Scottish Sustainable Restaurant of the Year, won the award jointly with Daylesford, the three strong group of cafes in the Cotswolds and Kensington.
Both restaurants launched in 2002 with a mission to serve high quality food from ingredients produced with principles on their doorstep. Daylesford’s 2,000-acre organic farm provides the majority of the ingredients for its three cafes, in Kingham, Gloucestershire, Notting Hill and Pimlico, while the ocean outside the door of the Captain’s Galley serves as its larder.
Jim Cowie refuses to serve popular seafood items in his 18-seat restaurant unless they are in season and in plentiful supply and is hosting a sustainable seafood festival this autumn to help people better understand which fish to eat and enjoy. He also runs his car on recycled oil from the restaurant fryer and has planted 150 trees and plants locally to encourage wildlife.
The runners-up for the award were THE PIG, in Hampshire and Arbor Restaurant at The Green House Hotel in Bournemouth. The Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven and Cafe St Honoré in Edinburgh were runners-up in the Scottish Sustainable Restaurant of the Year category.
Raymond Blanc praised the Captain’s Galley and winners of all of the 19 Sustainable Restaurant Awards. He said: “These awards are for me as important as Michelin Stars. They represent what everybody who is passionate about food should regard as the perfect ingredients: good ethics, an understanding that food touches every part of our lives and a desire to ensure that future generations will be able to experience from it the same pleasure as we have.”
Other winners included Star Bistro, which was named The People’s Favourite, topping a poll of five restaurants shortlisted from more than 850 nominations. The Cheltenham restaurant that offers customers a fine dining experience with immaculately soured ingredients, and people with physical and learning disabilities the chance to gain hugely valuable work experience both front of house and in the kitchen, won the lion’s share of the public’s 10,000 votes.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was this year’s recipient of the Raymond Blanc Sustainability Hero award for standing out as ‘the person who shows the greatest connection to seasonality, sustainability and traceability.’
Thomasina Miers’ popular Mexican restaurant group Wahaca, which has been serving grasshoppers to demonstrate how they can be a tasty and sustainable alternative protein source, won the award for Sustainable Innovation.
The Truscott Arms, in West London, triumphed in the Sustainable Pub of the Year category, while THE PIG in Brockenhurst was named Sustainable Hotel Restaurant of the Year.
The theme of the event was the Future of Food and the 250 guests were served cricket canapés prepared by Wahaca, before sitting down to enjoy an exquisite two-course menu prepared by James Golding, Chef Director of THE PIG and served by a team of graduates from The Clink Charity
The Sustainable Restaurant Awards honour and celebrate those hospitality businesses planning for the future as well as catering for the present. Fifteen of the 19 awards are decided on the basis of the scores achieved by businesses in their SRA Sustainability Rating, across the three pillars of sustainability – Sourcing, Environment and Society.