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Restaurant Associates brings fine dining to Sustainable Fish City

Restaurant Associates has signed the Sustainable Fish City pledge, reinforcing its ongoing commitment to sustainable fish.

News
Compass Group news team
Wednesday 05 October 2011

Restaurant Associates provides executive dining to companies across the city including leading law firms, investment banks and innovative marketing agencies, and works with consultant chefs including Gary Rhodes and Michel Roux Jr to deliver award winning food in top London restaurants such as Rhodes 24, Rhodes W1 and Roux at Parliament Square.

Since 2009, Restaurant Associates has committed to not serving fish and shellfish that are on the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) fish to avoid list and regularly reviews its fish guidelines to ensure they are current and reflective of sustainable practices.  By working in partnership with its suppliers, Restaurant Associates also promotes the use of under–utilised species such as mackerel, pollock, gurnard and coley.

Restaurant Associates is taking this a step further and has committed to ensuring all its restaurants will have received, or be working towards, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation by the end of 2012. The certification will allow them to serve MSC certified sustainable seafood and display the blue ecolabel on their menus. To achieve these commitments Restaurant Associates has worked with the MSC to raise awareness amongst the teams and clients and has developed online tools providing teams with eight simple steps towards the MSC accreditation.

Andy Harris, Managing Director, Restaurant Associates, said: “Restaurant Associates has a long-standing commitment to sourcing its seafood as sustainably as possible.  We serve 250,000 customers daily and with 85% of our clients London based, signing this pledge will have a huge impact on the fish being served in workplaces and restaurants across London.”
 
Rosie Boycott, appointed Chair of the London Food Board [5] in 2008 by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, backed the launch of the Sustainable Fish City campaign in January 2011. She said: “This is fantastic news from Restaurant Associates and an excellent example that I urge other forward-thinking businesses to follow. Pledges such as these are essential if we are going to prevent a future without fish. Well done to Restaurant Associates.”

Michelin starred chef and Restaurant Associates chef consultant, Gary Rhodes, said: “I am delighted to be working with Restaurant Associates in supporting such a worthwhile initiative. We have longstanding relationships with our fish suppliers, who we are in contact with on a daily basis to ensure that all the fish we feature follows the Marine Conservation Society guidelines.

“Fish is such a wonderfully versatile, nutritious food and with so many exciting varieties available to us it is vital that we encourage people to try lesser known species and raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding marine resources to ensure a sustainable future for our fish and seafood.”

Jon Walker coordinator of Sustainable Fish City added: “Restaurant Associates’ action to help preserve our precious marine resources will have a big impact. Following Marine Conservation Society advice and getting Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody for all of their sites are big commitments that really count. Congratulations to Restaurant Associates.”

Hannah Arcaro, UK Foodservice Manager at the MSC says: “The close engagement shown by RA's chefs, site managers and central team is testament to their deep commitment to sustainable seafood. I've had the great pleasure of working closely with many of the RA team and I'm delighted that they have made this commitment today.”

Dave Parker from the Marine Conservation Society [6] commented: “By not stocking fish from the Marine Conservation Society 'fish to avoid' list, Restaurant Associates are helping to reduce demand for over-exploited fish from poorly managed fisheries. This is a crucial step towards the recovery of marine fisheries and the future of sustainable fishing. This is great news from Restaurant Associates.”

For more information:
Liz Bastone, Compass Group UK & Ireland
Tel: 01895 554426 / 07500 607965
Email: liz.bastone@compass-group.co.uk

-ENDS-

[1] Restaurant Associates is part of Compass Group UK & Ireland and offers the highest quality of catering and support services to all its clients. Premium services include fine dining, conferencing and meeting room service, functions and events and front of house operations. www.restaurantassociates.co.uk

[2] The Sustainable Fish City campaign was launched in January 2011, and has already received sustainable fish pledges from fourteen London universities, the National Trust, the SEALIFE London Aquarium, top restaurants and leading caterers. This followed the adoption by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games of a fully sustainable fish policy, and the adoption by the GLA Group (Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Fire Brigade and the Greater London Authority – City Hall) of the London 2012 Food Vision, which includes a commitment to using sustainable fish. For further details of pledge signatories, see:
http://www.sustainweb.org/sustainablefishcity/whos_working_on_it/

The Sustainable Fish City pledge commits Restaurant Associates to:
• Avoid the worst: Removing endangered species from menus and catering – those rated as ‘fish to avoid’ by the Marine Conservation Society: www.fishonline.org/advice/avoid/
• Promote the best: Serving sustainably managed fish – Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish, and those rated as ‘fish to eat’ by the Marine Conservation Society: www.fishonline.org/advice/eat/
• Improve the rest: Telling suppliers they want to serve only sustainable fish – and that there are organisations that can help them to do this, such as Good Catch: www.goodcatch.org.uk and the MSC: www.msc.org

[3] Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody is a traceability certification that allows caterers and retailers to sell fish with the MSC’s ‘Certified Sustainable Seafood’ ecolabel. Fish or menu items bearing the ecolabel can be traced back to independently certified sustainable fisheries. Each MSC certified fishery has been certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery in a peer-reviewed, transparent independent assessment. To find out more, visit http://www.msc.org

[5] The London Food Board is an advisory group of independent food policy organisations and experts which oversees the implementation of The Mayor’s Food Strategy: Healthy and Sustainable Food for London, published in 2006 and to co-ordinate work and lead the debate on sustainable food issues in the capital. The London Food Board is chaired by Rosie Boycott, the Mayor of London’s food advisor, and is supported by Greater London Authority’s Food Team. For more information, see: http://www.london.gov.uk/london-food/general/what-london-food-board. The London Food Board supports Sustainable Fish City as an affiliate organisation, and public sector organisations participating in the initiative have benefited from practical support and advice from the Good Food on the Public Plate project, supported by the Mayor of London, see: http://www.gfpp.org.uk

[6] The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK’s leading charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. The voice for our seas for almost 30 years, MCS champions protection for marine wildlife, sustainable fisheries and clean seas and beaches. See their website at: http://www.mcsuk.org.