The importance of sustainable food at events

Chef Darren Clemmit explains why sustainable produce is good for your delegates as well as the environment.

Image credit: iStock
Image credit: iStock

Darren Clemmit is head chef at The White Swan in Pickering, Yorkshire.


Supporting the local community and environment by using local suppliers, eliminates unnecessary air miles while guaranteeing ingredients that are full of flavour and freshness.  

I know exactly where our food comes from and can even tell you who grew it and what the name of the farm is. This is important to us as we pride ourselves on cooking all our dishes, sauces and condiments from scratch and we even produce our own butter.

Food sustainability as part of an overall environmental strategy is easy to implement. It really does come from within and as a chef, passion, pride and respect for fresh, seasonal ingredients and produce occurs naturally for me. You cannot gain the same feeling from processed and pre-packaged food.

Ideally, to become more sustainable from a food perspective, venues, restaurants and conference centres need to focus on producing menus and dishes that are all about quality, seasonal and locally sourced produce and ingredients. While this is not always possible, a gradual commitment really helps communities and the overall environment.

Health benefits

The health benefits of fresh food cooked from scratch, far outweigh processed meals, pre-prepared sauces and dishes that are made in a factory. These items are usually full of preservatives, colourings and high in fat, sugar and salt.  

We are not part of a chain. We are family owned and operated and due to this, we pride ourselves on offering menus that are tailored to the needs of the individual client and fit with their budget. We work with many organisations who use The Bothy at The White Swan for small conferences, meetings and private dinners.

"Real food made from fresh ingredients is not only higher in nutritional value, you also need less of it to feel satisfied"

Being family owned and operated means that we are not governed by a head office who stipulates we must use a certain supplier. We have the freedom to choose our suppliers and choosing food that is in season enables us to create menus for our clients that are fairly priced and full of flavour.  

This is far better for delegates as they are receiving freshly prepared food, comprised of the highest quality ingredients available on our doorstep, that are high in naturally occurring nutrients and vitamins and not something from a box, made in factory! The latter causes sugar spikes and then a crash and often leaves delegates and organisers tired and lethargic after lunch, which is not productive.

Darren Clemmit

Real food made from fresh ingredients is not only higher in nutritional value, you also need less of it to feel satisfied. It really is quality over quantity! When catering for large parties, private dinners or a small meetings, taste and freshness is always paramount, and we will not compromise on this. Locally sourced ingredients that are in season are vital to producing good, honest food.


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