Cooking with Water
Cape Town has only just begun to ease water restrictions from what could be one of the first of many major water crises we will face as a planet. There is always so much we could do to reduce our water consumption - shorter showers, dripping taps, water saving appliances - however those items are barely a drop in the bucket when you begin to look into the water footprint of what we consume. Whether it is plastic, cotton, meat, or petrol, there is so much water used in the production, the feed, or the transportation of almost everything we come in contact with.
I met the new chef at kikaboni, the fine dining restaurant at naked Stables in Moganshan, China during a sustainability event celebrating the launch of a new analytics system to make guests more aware of their energy and water use at the resort. We started talking about meat and the tens of thousands of litres required to produce it, a few ‘give-or-take’ calculations started to reveal that all the water savings that could be achieved by this new system could be beaten simply by taking beef off the menu for a week, or not serving cashews at the resort.
Coming from South Africa, and having worked in kitchens in Cape Town during the water crisis, Conrad’s perspective gives a fresh angle on sustainability in some of the world's top restaurants. From zero water kitchens to using the whole animal, over the flair and noise of kikaboni’s kitchen, I got to hear about the meaningful impact a chef can make through their dishes. ‘You have to innovate if you want to boil an egg without water’. Every day, water scarcity is becoming more common and the pioneering done, not just in kitchens but in every aspect of consumption, is becoming more relevant.
It’s just damn good to be assured that it will taste delicious as well.