While the weekend trundled by leaving us firmly in Tier 2 lockdown restrictions, you may have easily missed the fact that Friday 16th October marked World Food Day. Set up by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the celebration was established to promote the good efforts being made around the world to combat hunger, malnutrition, environmental degradation and the loss of biological diversity. For this year’s World Food Day they asked the question: ‘Who are your food heroes?’ From the farmers to the chefs, the grocers to the pickers, who are the people who have changed the way you think about food? The FAO chose the agronomist Norman Borlaug, a man who saved millions from starvation as a result of his global farming initiatives. This well deserved recognition got us thinking about who has inspired us through food.
Of course, everyone has their own heroes, and soon into the conversation, we were reeling off dozens of names. So whilst there are many inspirational individuals, to avoid writing a tome, we have listed just three of ours. Each of these individuals and groups of people have all in some way influenced how we think about food and about the impact you can make through it – be it on people or the planet. We recognise food is a powerful tool for change and that as a restaurant, we can provide that platform for change with our mission first and foremost to make craveable, healthy plant-powered food more accessible to everyone in a sustainable way.
Where would we all be without the farmers who live and breathe their produce? We take it upon ourselves to work very closely with our suppliers – whether it is the fruit and veg, dairy, chicken, tofu or cold pressed juice. After all, we wouldn’t make it very far without them. We are constantly impressed with the dedication and passion for agriculture that they exhibit – from our Mexican avocado hermaños to our English carrot connoisseurs – none of this would be possible without their year-round dedication to supplying us with the highest quality ingredients. They inspire us to keep working hard at feeding London the freshest, greenest salads in town.
Keep on truckin’ 👊🏻
The man who has changed the way people approach vegetables. What more can you say. The now-world renowned Israeli chef revolutionised the way we viewed vegetables in the UK with his vibrant and punchy food philosophy, one that impresses us constantly. We at atis are all about plant-based diets and want to encourage everyone to eat more plant-powered food, but not a restrictive one either. You don’t need to go totally vegan to make a difference! This is why we love Ottolenghi’s approach. Despite not being vegetarian himself, his vibrant and “noisy” approach to cooking plant-forward food has helped encourage the current wave of vegetarianism we are experiencing, and his varied, flavoursome selection of herbs and spices really bring the best out of humble veggies. They aren’t boring, they are POWERFUL. So thank you Yotam.
Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore
In 2016 Italian maestro Massimo Bottura and wife Lara took the phrase “breaking bread together” literally. They established Food for Soul, a charitable organisation set up to promote healthy eating and sustainable food systems within disadvantaged areas – all based around the important act of sitting, eating and facing other people. The first Food for Soul centre (or Refettorio) was based out of an old refectory in Milan, where the monks would sit at long tables and eat together – today there are Refettorios around the world that feed the disadvantaged and vulnerable a three course meal using unused produce from Bottura’s restaurants. At atis we love this concept, and are constantly striving towards a more sustainable food system – whether is buying our food as locally as possible, minimising food waste or working with suppliers such as our bathroom soap supplier Soap Co who keeps social responsibility at the forefront of their mind. Food isn’t just fuel for your body, it should be a pleasurable and emotional experience: the act of eating can be a crucial opportunity to connect with yourself and others from which you can derive some of life’s greatest pleasures – an experience that each and everyone of us deserve to take part in.
“The gesture of sitting down to a meal and breaking bread together is the first step toward rebuilding dignity and creating community.” Massimo Bottura.
Preach it Massimo, and keep it up.
During this difficult time, we have certainly missed having our customers in store and witnessing those special moments, when people connect with food and each other. We are looking forward to the time when we welcome our lovely customers back to the store and share the gift of delicious, healthy, powerful food – all together.
Let’s build a food-loving community that stands for something.