Sustainable dining has been reduced to a marketing concept. Nearly every restaurant, from high-end eateries to fast-food joints, has made a gesture toward being more environmentally responsible. But that doesn’t stop some chefs from striving to make a more positive, honest impact with their food. Chef Teddy Diggs is one of those cooks.
I spoke with Diggs, the executive chef of Il Palio, a contemporary Italian restaurant in North Carolina, to find out how he thinks of sustainability in the day-to-day practice of running a restaurant. At The Art Cliff Diner and Home Port on Martha’s Vineyard, Diggs began using bycatch, the extra, more unusual fish that is caught in the process of pulling up more mainstream fare. Now, he’s experimenting with creating a mini-ecosystem between local farmers and Il Palio. We talked to him about substituting blue fish for cod, reducing waste in unique ways, and killing the stigma of “trash fish.”
Q. When did you first start thinking about sustainable cooking?
A.When I was growing up as a chef in the Washington, D.C., area, I started at an Italian fine dining restaurant. In retrospect, the products we were using were so fresh, from ... Read more