A Copenhagen-based chef has hit out at the Michelin Guide’s green clover for sustainability for “greenwashing”.
Chef Christian F. Puglisi of Copenhagen one-starred restaurant Relae did some digging into the criteria Michelin Guide uses to award their new green clover award for sustainable gastronomy and claimed that it amounts to “greenwashing”.
In a strongly-worded post, the Italian chef said the Guide’s criteria simply involves asking over the phone whether a restaurant’s operations are sustainable.
“It is disrespectful towards the ones in this industry taking the current issues seriously. It is hurting the credibility of our restaurant scene to announce leaders to be setting the standard for the rest of the world to follow,” Puglisi said.
Puglisi said that when he first heard about the awarding of the green star for sustainable gastronomy, he agreed with the concept.
“I was excited to hear that Michelin’s guide had wanted to take sustainability seriously. After decades of making chefs trim fish and meat into exact squares and perfect rolls, it was about time for some redemption, no?”
“Are we going to see a challenge put up by the most powerful entity in fine-dining and gastronomy that will make all restaurants thoroughly review their practices? To reconsider their sourcing of produce, their impact on the planet and let cooking connect pleasure with good and responsible practices? Please tell me, will I live to see us start making the world a better place by meticulously picking one micro herb at a time? Will we?”
Puglisi, a one-time acolyte of the Michelin Guide and its aura of authority in fine dining, had recently fallen out of love with the whole system. While a sustainability rating was welcome, unfortunately, the chef thinks that it amounts to nothing more than an attempt to ‘young-up’ the Guide. To keep it relevant to future generations.
The chef doesn’t go into detail about how he verified the Guide’s judging process for the green clover. The Guide is notoriously secretive about how they award their stars. But it’s not hard to imagine that the Copenhagen fine dining community is close-knit and chefs who were awarded the green clover would be willing to share how they attained it.
“Just a phone call gives you the right to display a clover next to our Michelin star. Like 10 other restaurants in Denmark. Like 26 other restaurants in Scandinavia. Like 50 in France,” he said.
Puglisi claimed he is committed to sustainable practices in his restaurant, something he takes very seriously and which involves a lot of work and sacrifice. Food sustainability is a serious issue and if indeed, the green clover by the Michelin Guide is nothing more than “greenwashing”, then it undermines the efforts of chefs like Puglisi to make a real difference.
The Michelin Guide has not yet responded to Puglisi's criticism.