The Jersey Hospitality Association has teamed up with Genuine Jersey to encourage the hospitality industry to buy local produce – and it’s going to require a change in the way we think about food, says JHA CEO Simon Soar.
‘Coming out of lockdown, we have a unique opportunity to reimagine the way businesses use local resources. As part of the island’s recovery plan, we’re working alongside Genuine Jersey to encourage the hospitality industry to support the local economy by supporting island producers.
‘We live on an island that has a reputation for incredible produce, some of which is famous around the world. Putting it on our menus not only helps other local businesses and supports the economy, it has enormous environmental benefits. Plus, it’s fresh and it tastes incredible.’
Cost and availability
‘The hurdle we have to get over is the concerns around cost, consistency and availability. Supporting local does have cost implications, but I think a lot of chefs are prepared to pay more if they understand the benefits. One of our jobs is to make sure chefs are clued up on seasonal ingredients, and know what’s available locally, and know what Genuine Jersey products are.
‘Supporting local requires a change of mindset. Chefs put tuna and salmon on a menu because they think that’s what people want, but people will order from the options you give them. Why are we putting tuna on the menu when we have some incredible local fish? The first mackerel of the season is amazing.
‘Chefs are putting strawberries on the menu in February because they think that’s what customers want. But those strawberries have come all the way from Holland or Spain, and they’ve left a huge carbon footprint to reach the dining table. They’re not fresh, either.
‘Menus should be seasonal and reflect what’s available at that time of year. It’s how people used to cook and I think there’s a huge momentum to return to that way of eating. When you consider that you’re also putting money back into the local economy at a critical time, it makes even more sense to eat seasonally and buy local.’
Feature image via Visit Jersey