Having spent the weekend in the environmental vale of despond, we faced Monday with chef Barny Haughton, who talked about the efforts he and his more-than-a-restaurant Bordeaux Quay are making to live and work sustainably, modelling good behaviour as a restaurant and educational body. They aim to be carbon neutral within five years, having already invested in sustainable infrastructure and culinary techniques and following local food procurement policies (“if it grows in the West Country”, he says, “we don’t buy it elsewhere”).
Tuesday, we all cooked together under Barny’s watchful hand, becoming one happy appetite making a communal lunch. We had been sent to the morning market to come in with a vegetable (or something) to contribute, and we had quite a feast: stuffed mushrooms, risotto milanese (made with fresh chicken stock), saltimbocca with salsa verde (with fresh herbs, anchovies, mustard, lemon, olive oil) aubergine towers, aioli with crudites, and a zucchini frittata.
In the process of making saltimbocca Barny explained a bit about the veal education campaign, which is to try to communicate to people who drink milk or eat cheese that they are actually forcing the production of veal, which it has become unfashionable to eat. If they then refuse to eat it, you end up with the situation as it is in England where the calves that are needed to initiate milk production are either shot and buried on the farm or shipped to Italy. This is not to minimise the brutality that has been exercised on veal calves in the past, but to say that veal is to beef what lamb is to mutton; people who eat lamb without qualm should be equally prepared to eat veal rather than perpetuate the waste of life that exists now amongst a confused public.