Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery is a new, kinder, dining guide designed to identify the restaurants and food experiences that go above and beyond great food and wine in the ethical, organic and environmentally sustainable ways with which they run their business.
For the past decade chefs and restaurateurs have been shifting their priorities to place a greater value on health, community, empathy and care, and supporting and sustainable ethical practices by farmers, producers and wine-makers. They are working harder than ever to cook with seasonal, locally sourced produce, reduce their carbon emissions and minimize their waste.
At the same time, more diners want their money to go to good restaurants with good food run by good people.
This guide aims to bring everyone together at the table.
Every place we list serves delicious food. That’s a given. After that, our guiding principle has been the care taken by the people who run the restaurant. Care in sourcing the food and how it is produced; care in dealing with its staff, customers and community; and care for the environment, in terms of energy, waste and water.
Establishing a clear criteria and rigorous auditing process hasn’t been easy – and will never be flawless – but ultimately it comes down to everyone being open, transparent and respectful. Our editorial team is made up of some of the most experienced and talented food writers in the world. To assist them in their roles of identifying those restaurants most worthy of inclusion each restaurant answers a rigorous survey – a self-audit, if you will – citing examples of the sustainable practices and ethical principles that inform how they run their business.
This combination of experience, research and ‘gut feel’, validated by information from the restaurants themselves, can best be described as eighty per cent due diligence and 20 per cent leap of faith. It’s a decision we have made to trust the process and trust the people.
We want to know if their seafood is sustainable, their waste minimized and their staff nurtured. We cover things like energy usage, community and collaboration, seasonality of ingredients, and respect for the local region and its people. We put a value on things like accepting imperfections in produce and in people, producing one’s own food, optimising energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions, reducing chemical usage, encouraging a happy and diverse workplace, working creatively to use what’s readily and immediately available, menus that provide alternatives to meat, and owners who consider the health and well-being of their diners. Being nice, tick. Being fair, also. Not being a bully, definitely. It’s basically ‘best practice’ for restaurants, encouraging change towards a more ethical, sustainable food – and dining – system.
We want to eat where we can tick as many of these boxes as possible:
Where the food is seasonal, which supports local farmers and reduces waste; Where there are healthy alternatives to red meat, deep-fried stuff, and mayonnaise; Where the fish and seafood are as sustainable as possible.
We are deeply respectful of how hard it is to run a profitable and sustainable business in the highly competitive world of hospitality, and we are in awe of everyone who uses their business as a force for good. That’s why we want the world to know about them.
Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery is, we hope, a step in the right direction; helping diners choose a place to eat based on something beyond good food and wine. By choosing restaurants that have a clear mission to improve their sourcing, seasonality and sustainability, diners are endorsing ethical behaviour. By encouraging diners to spend their money on people who are trying to have a positive impact on the planet.
We value good food and good friends. We value time over money, community over celebrity and empathy over ego. We value the seasons and the rhythm of nature, and people who work with them rather than against them. And we value being able to dine together and to work together to shape the world we live in.
The restaurants you will find in Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery are ones we believe in; great places that are trying to do the right thing; where the act of dining is joyful, and the enjoyment of good food is amplified and intensified by the obvious care taken from paddock to plate.
We live in a changing world, where our choices now dictate the future. At last, the deeply held beliefs of both diners and chefs are beginning to align and reconnect.