A la carte climate assessment
Do you know the carbon footprint of a garlic butter rib steak?
The Corso restaurant in St. Gallen intends to become climate neutral. The kick-off is given with the indication of the CO₂ emissions of the dishes on the menu.
Published31 mars 2023, 07:00
The Corso restaurant in St. Gallen displays the CO₂ emissions of its dishes on the menu card.
With its concept around sustainability, the restaurant Corso in St. Gallen aims to raise awareness of sustainable food and support the local economy at the same time. One of the measures to achieve this is rather unusual: apart from the price, customers now also have the carbon footprint of the à la carte dishes at lunchtime.
Inform rather than impose
According to the restaurant’s website, its chef, Markus Schenk, whose establishment has been awarded 15 points by Gault et Millau, does not aim to scare or impose something on the customer, but to inform and be transparent. Example: Entrecôte with parsley garlic butter served with roasted potatoes has a CO₂ emission of 3592 grams, compared to 215 grams for a beetroot soup with cream served with white bread.
“Sustainability is close to our hearts, which is why we cook with regional and seasonal products,” writes the St. Gallen bistro about its values. To do this, they specifically avoid food waste, avoid products grown in greenhouses and focus on short distances. The display of CO₂ emissions is an additional step, supposed to underline the values of the restaurant.
“Transparency is a key aspect of sustainability efforts, as it highlights the measurability of actions. With Markus Schenk, we wanted this transparency to also be applied to the Corso”, explains Alexandra Devos, communication manager of the restaurant.
“Orders for rib steaks have not dropped”
The opinions of restaurant customers are divided: while some appreciate the communication of this information, others ignore it and that does not prevent them from enjoying themselves, according to the “Tagblatt”.
“Reactions are mixed and range from ‘very positive’ to ‘is it really necessary?’ But that does not prevent us from continuing to follow our sustainable path,” explains Alexandra Devos.
In the interests of sustainability, chef Markus Schenk relies on crayfish rather than shrimp.
Screenshot of a Corso restaurant lunch menu. The menu changes every month.
Markus Schenk is of the opinion that “the way of approaching food must change”. Of course, his customers always have the possibility of choosing their dish. “It is interesting to note that orders for rib steaks have not dropped since,” reveals the chef to “Tagblatt”.
These indications do not change much for Markus Schenk. He continues to cook in the same way and relies on seasonal products, with the only difference that, when drawing up the monthly lunch menu, he enters the ingredients on the Eaternity company’s online calculation site. . This then calculates the CO₂ value and the ecological balance.
“Until now, CO₂ emissions data has been limited to the midday map. The cuisine being more elaborate in the evening, this would make the calculation too complex”, explains Alexandra Devos. But there may soon be a bigger change: Markus Schenk aims to make the Corso a climate-neutral restaurant again this year. It is planned to create an edible garden and bet on renewable energy from biomass as well as a drinks concept with bottle deposit and recycling.
“By climate neutrality, we mean that we implement all possible measures based on our current knowledge. Acceptance by our customers plays an important role. We won’t know until the end of the year if we’ve succeeded,” explains Alexandra Devos. “For us, it is important not to simply offset CO₂ with sums of money,” she adds.
What do you think of the CO₂ indications on restaurant menus?