Food & Farming blog: White Hart stars in step towards sustainability

Harriet BellHarriet Bell is Community Resilience (Food & Farming) Manager, helping Dartington to explore new ways to feed ourselves sustainably.

Previously, she worked at West Town Farm, an organic mixed farm enterprise on the outskirts of Exeter, and 10:10, an organisation that encourages schools and businesses to cut carbon emissions.  More blogs from Harriet


I’m really pleased to be able to share with you the news that Dartington Hall is now a member of The Sustainable Restaurant Association, and that our White Hart Restaurant and Roundhouse Café have been accredited as 1 Star champions for the year 2015.

Head Chef Anuj Thakur in the White Hart kitchens
Head Chef Anuj Thakur in the White Hart kitchens

The Sustainable Restaurant Association is an independent organisation which works to make restaurants more sustainable and helps you to make an informed choice by easily identifying restaurants with a commitment to sustainability.

In order to receive its champion status the White Hart had to go through an independent assessment across 14 criteria fitting into the broader categories of Sourcing, Society and Environment . Criteria include looking at whether we are sourcing, locally and ethically, encouraging healthy eating and responsible marketing, managing our energy and waste effectively.

“Dartington hopes to make better use of the knowledge producers and chefs on the estate have about sourcing and cooking good food to the benefit of the community”

As one may expect, given the nature of Dartington’s charitable work, the highest score was received for Society. Our catering team’s commitment to offering a variety of training for staff as well as employment opportunities and apprenticeships for young people was highlighted as excellent.

Our Environmental efforts scored strongly, with particular recognition of work on energy and waste efficiency and Chef Anuj’s preference for sourcing ingredients locally and seasonally was also remarked on.

This made Anuj happy! He told me: “Working with local produce was always my priority. Using local produce means reducing the kitchen’s carbon footprint and getting the best seasonal ingredients. Cooking seasonally is also often more cost-effective – which helps kitchen budgets!”

Whilst we’re happy to have been recognised for the work done so far, we now aspire to press towards a 3 star (‘excellent’) rating in the future.

There are already plans in place to source more of the ingredients directly from the estate itself, and to do more to place an emphasis on food practices which are not just local and seasonal, but actively promote environmentally positive farming approaches.

The Roundhouse Café, for example, has begun this process by switching supplier, so that it now serves Clipper Teas – offering a variety of organic and Fairtrade options to visiting tea drinkers.

There are also plans to provide more information about ingredients on menus to help customers make informed choices, and Dartington hopes to make better use of the knowledge producers and chefs on the estate have about sourcing and cooking good food to the benefit of the community.

Early manifestations of this commitment include Anuj sharing some of his favourite recipes on the Dartington website, and sharing his kitchen skills with the public at The Shops at Dartington Food Fair on the 24/25th May.




Download the full review for the details and the SRA’s recommendations for the White Hart.
• Read the full press release about Dartington Hall’s SRA rating
Discover recipes from White Hart Head Chef Anuj

Dartington Hall is social enterprise of The Dartington Hall Trust providing catering and hospitality.

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