The Chef Alliance in the UK aims to engage British-based chefs in actively championing small-scale producers; promoting good quality, local and sustainably produced food.
Chefs are particularly encouraged to use seasonal, forgotten foods from the Ark of Taste, helping the organization to raise awareness of these traditionally British products.
The network took its first steps in 2011, thanks to the support of some well-known and influential chefs. Together they helped build the foundations for what is now an umbrella for talented chefs who share the Slow Food ethos and want to support the Slow Food cause.
In November 2013, just two years after its launch, the UK Chef Alliance celebrated 100 members, with over 50 participants – chefs and producers – gathering at the Photographers’ Gallery in London to celebrate this milestone. The Alliance has contributed to the success of numerous national, regional and local events, as well as to four editions of Slow Food Week – the UK’s biggest celebration of good, clean and fair food.
The legacy of the Alliance lies in its grassroots essence: chefs in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland constantly work together with their local groups to organize events, activities and campaigns – driving change in the way people see and choose their food.
The roles of chefs in promoting good, clean and fair food
Sustainability is no longer a niche as it used to be a few years ago, with chefs and restaurateurs now becoming some of the most important communicators regarding the current state of the food system.
Someone said chefs have a big responsibility: serving just good food is not enough anymore. I would say that rather than a responsibility, this is a big opportunity.
Through the networking experience, chefs discover that the battle to preserve biodiversity is not only important, but also extremely fun: re-discovering foods often adds value to a menu, as well as contributing to the preservation of traditional foods and cultural heritage.
In a food system where there is an overall lack of information, this is a truly powerful tool. If all chefs and restaurants in the UK – in the world – pledged to prepare food that is good, clean and fair, it could make a real difference to consumers, to producers and to the environment.
Written by Marco Carboni – Programme Manager and Chef Alliance Co-ordinator, Slow Food UK
To find out about the Alliance in other countries visit the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity site