Discover the testimony of Mr. Gilles Wegmüller, Managing Director of the Carte Blanche group, who recently obtained the EcoCook® certification in his flagship restaurant, Bleu Lézard, and its neighbor, Café Enning. His third restaurant, Java, will soon follow the example.
- Could you tell us a few words about you and your restaurants?
Carte Blanche is a family-run business that brings together 4 restaurants and clubs, including the Bleu Lézard with its Cave and Café Enning, which have just been awarded the EcoCook certification, as well as Java, which will begin the process later. We created the Bleu Lézard with my sister Jasmina and my brother Thierry 25 years ago, it was our first stone in the building, which followed others to create a heterogeneous group of recognized and appreciated places as precursors in Lausanne. Le Bleu Lézard has become an institution, and it is with this spearhead that we have started the certification procedure.
- What is sustainability according to you? And how does it apply to the food industry?
Sustainability (notwithstanding Mr. Trump…), according to me, is probably the only viable way to see the future, namely, living and working by sparing our planet’s resources, which, as we all (almost…) know by now, are dwindling, due to excesses of all kinds and global overconsumption.
- Why is it important to be sustainable?
Our sector is at the forefront of this mission because every human being has to feed themselves and we have the privilege of being able to orient the customer towards certain choices.
- How did you hear about EcoCook?
Through a February 2016 newsletter sent by Gastrovaud
- Why have you chosen EcoCook? What prompted you to choose this EcoCook certification and program?
I have been environmentally-aware for years now, and have already implemented many measures in my personal life and in our establishments, but without truly being able to attest the effects in numerical manner and especially to communicate it, which seems to me a pity in terms of image. The certification brings together validation on a tangible basis of the actions undertaken and to be implemented and also enables enhancement and valorization through communication.
- What aspects have convinced you in the end?
This type of process requires gathering a lot of information, as a basis for the study, and to highlight the steps that still need to be taken. My motivation was above all human, when I met Mrs. Grebler and then Mrs. Lopez, who convinced me of this choice, and who followed-up the entire process with utmost seriousness and precision (…). In summary, I will therefore retain the following aspects as decisive:
- independent certification: it is important not to bias the undertaken efforts’ results by a convenience certification
- full support: it is nice to feel supported in a long-term approach that does not, at first sight, belong to the restaurant owner’s priorities, often overwhelmed by daily life tasks.
- communication: the benefit of the EcoCook network is a plus, as is Biolia’s commitment to create effective communication tools (flyers)
- passionate experts: as mentioned above, the human factor is important, especially when it comes to sharing common passions!
- Software and online evaluation platform: it was used for the initial audit, which enabled the assessment of the initial level of sustainability, as well as determining the level of certification that was subsequently targeted.
- How do you think your customers will perceive that you are EcoCook certified?
The subject being so topical and worrying, I believe we can no longer ignore the urgency to contribute, each one of us at our own small scale to environmentally-friendly improvements. Therefore, if customers find that more and more restaurants are engaging in the matter, I dare believe that they will perceive this very positively. And if we can contribute to this awareness, then we will have won on every board!
- What do you like most about this program?
(a) Globally speaking, what are the benefits that the EcoCook program can bring to the food industry? (What are EcoCook’s main 3 strengths?
- the support system: the overworked restaurant owner must be assisted in order to advance through the process, otherwise he will put his own priorities first.
- the communication system: such an approach must be duly communicated, in order to generate an added value in terms of image. A benevolent restaurant owner who is aware of these matters will always be better perceived than an industrial chain which, for the sake of profit-making, has an extreme tendency to intoxicate its customers with low-end products and environmental destructors.
- The staff’s training and awareness: it is paramount, as they represent the link with the customer. And we, as employers, have the duty to create awareness on the subject, even if it is done very gradually.
- The software integrates a communication platform, the “TripEcoCook”, which enables the evaluation of the sustainability level, as well as the internal and external communication.
(b) What are the disadvantages or improvements which you would advise the Biolia team about?
I do not see any disadvantages or improvements to propose at this stage.
- Have you undertaken, or are you going to take action to promote certification? If yes, could you please specify?
We are in the process of redesigning our websites and will include a dedicated page. We will also post on the social networks and include the charter in the booklet distributed to each new employee.
- Would you recommend the certification to other restaurants? What tips would you give to restaurants that want to certify?
Yes. Our path was made easier by the fact that many measures had already been put in place. I would therefore recommend that, whether certification or not, to take some time to reflect on how to approach the question, which is quite vast, and that starting from scratch, the novice will thus have a greater benefit in making the right decisions, which will make him make great savings, by taking care of his image and his conscience.
- What do you wish for the program and its team to accomplish?
To successfully convince and train the greatest number of restaurant owners in this beautiful and gratifying project, the accomplishment of which will give a sense of “community usefulness” that is not always felt on a daily basis. “Make our planet great again!”
Read the original article in French :