The sustainable dinner summit

Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - June 19, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  World Wide Fund-Philippines (WWF) had sponsored a seminar “Beyond Research: Sustainability in the Food Service Sector.” It was held at the Seda Hotel Vertis North, Quezon City, where the invited representatives were from the business, government, and media sectors from Cebu.

Welcome dinner was at the Crisostomo Restaurant, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Diliman. The restaurant has several branches throughout Metro Manila and this particular branch features “Turn of the Century Filipino Dining,” where dishes are named after historical Filipino personalities.

Appetizers were “Lourdes” (deep-fried baby crabs) and “Sisig Linares” (classic sizzling pork sisig).  Soups were the “Tinolang Matanglawin” (chicken cooked with papaya and coconut meat) and “Sinigang Gomez” (sinigang baboy at sampalok). It had been sometime since I last tasted a real sinigang. Nice!

Main dishes were three veggies, one seafood and one meat dish: “Pilosopong Pinakbet” (assorted native vegetables), “Lumpiang Hubad,” stir-fry veggies drizzled with peanut sauce, and “Luna (bean sprout spring roll). There were also the “Liwayway,” a dish consisting of “daing na bangus” and crispy garlic; and “Adobo Damaso,” twice cooked chicken and pork adobo, topped with adobo flakes, “kesong puti” and Baguio tomatoes.

During the seminar, Joel Palma, WWF executive director gave the welcome address and Melody Melo-Rijk, project manager, gave updates on the Sustainable Dinner Project, which focuses on sustainable consumption and production and the role of the food service industry. Researches had been made on challenges and opportunities to support sustainability and the results were discussed by the resources persons.

One of the studies involves food waste here it is found that only 46.1 percent of Filipino households are food secure. I wonder how it is today, as the aftereffect of the coronavirus pandemic. Food waste is an environmental problem contributing to greenhouse gas emissions – aside from it being a waste of money. In a four-month study conducted by the SM Hotels & Convention with food waste mapping and intervention, VP Leah Magallanes revealed that a 10 percent reduction was made in the total food waste per guest served.

A feasibility study on the food donation program was discussed by Dr. Leizel Romboua of GCC Development Services, followed by a cost-benefit analysis in sustainable business approaches. In restaurants, there were four concerns: energy, water, waste, and food source. A lot of savings could be done in energy and waste, not much on water, but producing food is definitely not economical.

More studies were discussed like the Life-Cycle Assessment in the Food Services by Dr. Alvin Culaba. At this point, I felt tired because I had too much study in my head and would rather drink a tall glass of cold beer. As I was ready to leave, Dr. Culaba discussed the carbon footprint (gas emissions) of five restaurant dishes and I went back to my seat. The fifth place went to “Sinigang” (2.89 CO2-e), followed by “Crispy Sisig” (2.95), “Crispy Chicken” (3.12), “Beef Bulalo” (3.39) – and “Crispy Pata” (5.98 CO2-e), excuse me, was Number One!

I congratulated Dr. Alvin Culaba for an excellent presentation, drunk my cold beer later, and completed my seminar with a question, how much carbon footprint would Cebu Lechon leave?

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