Sustainable Business Award
Sponsored by PepsiCo
2014 Winner: ODE True Food
When Tim (pictured) and Clare Bouget returned from working in a number of established restaurants and hotels overseas in 2009, the couple decided it was time to put their experience into their own project.
It all began in a Georgian townhouse in Shaldon, Devon, which opened in 2006 as ODE dining (a reference to the property’s postcode) with a mission statement to offer locally inspired, thoughtful hospitality. Having won numerous accolades for the 24-cover restaurant, the Bougets then set their sights on a project that could capitalise on the seasonal influx of visitors in the most sustainable way possible.
Café ODE was opened in 2012 in a derelict stable block in Shaldon. Built and run on strong environmental and ethical sourcing lines, with a high level of organic purchasing, it is part renovation, part conversion and new sustainable build, and incorporates a café and takeaway and an eco-conscious interior design. With the opportunity to build in environmental design, Café ODE includes many features that weren’t possible at the restaurant.
An ethical bank was even chosen to part fund the development. All the food is served in compostable and recyclable boxes, while cutlery is also biodegradeable.
The café uses recycled and second hand catering equipment, has a sedum roof, a solar heated water system and a rainwater collection system.
Meanwhile, the walls of the café are adorned with sustainable information, including details of all local suppliers and farms, carbon and energy saving statistics, and customers are encouraged to use labelled recycling bins.
Around the outside eating area there’s a living wall, growing herbs, bee-friendly flowers and vegetation. The café is also committed to using organic produce, sourcing free range meat and non-farmed fish from a range of the best local ingredients.
The owners have continued the development of the café with the setup of an on-site microbrewery. Two Beach Brewing Co creates bespoke ales for the café, and also brews Oarsome ale, which is available at local pubs.
The focus on sustainability extends to all staff members, who are taught the company’s principles from induction. The team takes part in regular farm visits, coffee training, cheese and wine tastings, and the front of house team is provided with organic uniforms. They are also encouraged to cycle or skateboard to work.
The café has already been recognised for its outstanding approach to responsible operation, having achieved 93% in its Sustainable Restaurant Association sustainability rating.
In the society pillar of the report Café ODE received 94% for its commitment and involvement within the community and its engagement in local and national initiatives including Action Against Hunger, the Philippines Hurricane Appeal and fundraising for a community workshop in the local village.
ODE True Food really is a business by which others should be benchmarked in terms of sustainability.
What the judges said
“Excellent innovation, considering it’s a start-up, and quality to boot.”
“ODE True Food demonstrated to the judges a real understanding of the true concepts of sustainability; these principles clearly underpin its business model and are a shining example of what can be achieved.”
Lussmanns Fish & Grill Restaurants, St Albans
ODE True Food, Teignmouth
The Brookwood Partnership
Dominic Burbridge, associate director – business advice, The Carbon Trust
John Dyson, food and technical affairs advisor, British Hospitality Association
Caroline Gregory, managing partner, The Lovat
Mike Hanson, head of sustainability & environmental management, WSH
Rebecca Hawkins, managing director, Responsible Hospitality Partnership
Mark Linehan, managing director, Sustainable Restaurant Association
David Nuttall, catering manager, Harper Adams University
Jonathan Proctor, technical director, GreenTourism