Clayton Chapman is the head chef at The Grey Plume. The Grey Plume was the first 4 Star SustainaBuild™ Certified Green Restaurant® in the world. Some notable environmental steps he’s taken at his restaurant include: purchasing renewable energy credits, recycled, reused, and Forest Stewardship Council certified furniture and building materials, sustainable uniforms, local and organic food purchases, among many other impressive steps. He was certainly an innovator in the local restaurant community seven years ago when he started with the GRA, and still continues to be to this day.
What sustainability accomplishment makes you most proud?
Commitment to authenticity and looking at the big picture. Committing to the big items such as recycling and compost to the most minuscule like sourcing bamboo with soy ink for our servers pens. We have such a complete composting and recycling program that we have less than one 13-gallon can of trash per day. We practice whole animal butchery and utilize all portions of the meat in an extensive charcuterie program. After fresh produce has been fabricated, the unused portion is given to the bar where it is made into syrups, shrubs, and liqueurs- eliminating waste and creating a bridge between our cocktail program and dinner menu.
Why is it important to you to be a Certified Green Restaurant®?
'Farm-to-Table' has become a staple term for many restaurants regardless of the extent of their sourcing and commitment, so by becoming a Certified Green Restaurant®, we feel confident that we are going above and beyond using a few local farms, to really supporting sustainability in all practices of our restaurant. It is great to have this validity to what we are so passionate about.
What would you like to tell other restaurant owners to encourage them to become more sustainable?
The process takes time and energy, but we feel it is well worth it. GRA will assist with the process and even helps with marketing and staff training on green efforts. Your staff will really come to appreciate the steps you are taking to be sustainable in all aspects of your restaurant, and they may even adopt the practices in their own lives creating a brotherhood of like-minded individuals.
What environmental issue concerns you the most?
Food waste is a huge concern for the environment, and it is so easy for the issue to be skirted. We want the public to be educated on green practices and take into consideration how easy it can be to do small steps each day to create a more beautiful life for all.