The London restaurant Canteen
has recently been leading the heated debate over whether eating locally sourced non-organic food is more environmentally friendly than always choosing the organic variety, no matter it’s origin. Food provenance, as it’s called, is the new hot topic on the London restaurant scene. This is exemplified by Canteen, a restaurant situated in London’s east end, which proudly markets itself as providing fresh, seasonal, locally sourced food, cooked to order. Doesn’t sound much like a canteen to me! The word canteen summons disturbing images of tinned veggies, cardboard meat and toxic coloured desserts, but maybe that was just my school! In a similar vein to the way we’ve reclaimed the word 'treehugger', the people behind Canteen have chosen to reappropriate a word which reminds people of their worst culinary experiences, reinventing it to signify a very modern version of healthy fast food. On their website Canteen clearly state ‘We believe in good produce provenance. Our meat is additive free sourced directly from producers practicing good animal husbandry and our fish delivered fresh from day-boats on the south coast. All dishes are cooked to order and the menu changes seasonally to accommodate the best and freshest national produce.’
The fact that Canteen can promote themselves for their ‘good produce provenance’ and that the general public actually know what they are talking about, shows to what extent people are now aware of what they are putting in their mouths and more importantly where it came from. The awareness of food miles and how much energy is expended in bringing food to our table is becoming more widespread. Hopefully people are no longer just blindly throwing the organic brand in the basket because they believe it’s the ‘greenest’ option. If it’s a choice between organic New Zealand Lamb and well reared British Lamb, Canteen think local is the ‘greenest’ choice and we have to agree with them.
Providing reasonably priced, locally sourced, well prepared, traditionally seasonal food, at a fast pace, by re-skilled staff is the epitome of the modern urban ethical eating experience. While it might just be a current trend we at TreeHugger can’t deny it’s a good one, which will hopefully carry on well past its sell by date. ::Canteen
2 Crispin Place, Spitalfields London,E16 DW, UK.