Australia’s first zero-carbon kitchen offers a taste of the future

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In the modern world, the food we eat and the drinks we drink contribute to climate change.

A locally made beer served by your publican will emit 500 grams of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere before it reaches your lips.

Food accounts for around 15-20% of Australia’s total carbon emissions.

Lamb and cheese both emit over 20 kilograms of greenhouse gases per kilogram before being put on a plate.

So what can we do to make our food more sustainable?

In November, Ben Armstrong launched Atiyah, Australia’s first carbon-free, off-grid street food, at Federation Square in Melbourne.

Since then, it has served more than 6,250 meals, made the switch to catering and offset 10,000 kilograms of carbon emissions.

“We are revolutionizing street food through our community of amazing people who are passionate about saving the planet,” said Mr. Armstrong. UKTN.

The menu shows the carbon emissions that were saved for each meal and drink consumed in Atiyah.

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Ben Armstrong launched Australia’s first zero-carbon kitchen last year. Photo: Provided

Atiyah is the first hotel company in the country to be certified carbon neutral by Climate Active. But it did not come easily.

“It’s a high carbon food,” Armstrong explained.

“One of our za’atar, a plain bread with a mixture of oil, is 1.5 kilograms of carbon emissions.”

To achieve carbon neutrality, the restaurant “is reducing 73% of our emissions, which is a huge reduction, and 20% we are offsetting,” Armstrong said.

The restaurant has a composting service, the staff uniforms are handcrafted in Melbourne with recycled materials and organic cotton, and they don’t sell plastic bottles.

Instead, they collect their own rainwater from the roof, process it, and serve it to customers.

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The cooking is chemical free, but most importantly, the ingredients come from carbon neutral suppliers.

All recipes are designed by Mr. Armstrong’s mother-in-law, Thérèse Helou, who lives in Lebanon.

“I said to him, why don’t we combine my passion for sustainability with Lebanese cuisine? Mr. Armstrong said.

“She didn’t expect it to go this far, she thought it would be a hole in the wall, I definitely went as far as I could.”

Do not cook with gas

After the ingredients, the other big change is the fact that cooking does not use gas.

The subject of gas cooking has become very controversial in circles concerned with climate change.

We’re a long way from having the ability to cook with electricity in commercial kitchens, but for Atiyah, the food lends itself to not using fossil fuels, Armstrong said.

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“We don’t need a huge number of devices to serve our food. This is an advantage on our side. It would be difficult for a large commercial kitchen, ”he said.

But at home, many are calling for a change in the way we cook.

The Climate Council, the ACT government, and think tank The Grattan Institute are among those saying it’s time to ditch gas in our home kitchens.

At the end of last year, a report from the Grattan Institute called for “cleaner, smarter ways to cook,” arguing that the new electric hobs do the job just as well.

“A lot of people don’t know about induction cooktops,” the report says.

“It’s likely that many people who currently prefer to cook with gas would, with first-hand experience, be satisfied with an induction hob. “

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