April 24, 2024


Built General Tough

Ban beef to save the planet, in Quebec too?

The popular American website Epicurious, which collects 180,000 recipes, has announced that it is bidding farewell to the beef. “This decision is not anti-beef, but rather pro-planet”, justified on the site Maggie Hoffman and David Tamarkin, respectively editor-in-chief and former digital director of Epicurious. As for the chic Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York, it will reopen on June 10, after being closed during the pandemic. Big difference: no animal products will be on the menu. Is this a movement that resonates in Quebec?

Marie Allard
Marie Allard

Guilty of being the worst


Producing 1 kg of beef emits on average 32.5 kg of CO2, according to Nature (2018). Produce the same amount of poultry? Only 1.4 kg …

Beef no longer appears in new recipes from Epicurious, an (often award-winning) culinary site from Conde Nast Digital. He is also banned from his articles, newsletters and Instagram posts. “This change is driven only by sustainability,” said Maggie Hoffman and David Tamarkin on April 26. We no longer want to give airtime to one of the world’s worst climate violators. ”

Citing the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Epicurious points out that nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock. Producing 1 kg of beef emits on average 32.5 kg of CO2, according to Nature (2018). Produce the same amount of poultry? Only 1.4 kg … “The conversation about sustainable cooking obviously needs to be louder; this policy is our contribution, ”explains Epicurious.

Ricardo does not imitate Epicurious


Chef and host Ricardo Larrivée

The ox will be able to seek asylum from … Ricardo, who does not intend to ban him from his platforms. “We have taken no position in this direction,” said Nathalie Carbonneau, vice-president of communications at Ricardo Media. “It has always seemed essential to us to make all the ingredients known and to publish all types of recipes” to bring people together, she explains.

At Ricardo, therefore, “both vegan and vegan recipes, or with meat and fish, are presented,” says Nathalie Carbonneau. We thus wish to allow all those who follow us to cook what they like, without judgment ”.

Avoid disaster


Rosalie Thibault, undergraduate student in environment and economics at McGill University and activist for the Student Coalition for an Environmental and Social Shift (CEVES)

On the contrary, there is an urgent need to emulate Epicurious, believes Rosalie Thibault, a bachelor’s degree student in environment and economics at McGill University and an activist for the Student Coalition for an Environmental and Social Shift (CEVES). “The science clearly indicates that reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products is essential to avoid the disasters of significant global warming,” she said.

To achieve this, we must redirect the subsidies offered to the livestock sector towards plant-based alternatives, according to Rosalie Thibault. “The absence of this issue in our governments’ plans to fight climate change is deplorable,” she said. This suggests that the interests of industries have priority, for decision-makers. More than protecting the population in the face of the crisis. ”

A three-star vegan


Swiss-born New York chef Daniel Humm, visiting Montreal in 2013

At Eleven Madison Park, New York’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant, all animal products will be excluded from the menu when it reopens on June 10. “We realized that not only has the world changed, but we have also changed,” writes chef Daniel Humm on the restaurant’s website.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the current food system is simply not sustainable in many ways,” adds the Swiss-born chef. Notice to interested parties: reservations are already full for the tasting menu at US $ 335 per guest. In France, at the start of 2021, the ONA restaurant was the first vegan establishment to receive a Michelin star, according to Agence France-Presse.

Chief influencers


Bernard Lavallée, nutritionist

“Chefs clearly have a role to play in food shifts,” analyzes Bernard Lavallée, nutritionist and podcast co-host We call each other and we have lunch. “If we convince people that tofu, edamame or legumes can be good and fun to eat, we don’t even have to make environmental arguments. ”

“The power of great restaurants is to carry out research and development and launch food trends,” explains Bernard Lavallée. They say: “We have decided that we don’t need meat. We’re going to be cool as well and we’re still going to be on top. You can do like us. ” ”

New veggie restaurants in Montreal


Vegan dishes from the restaurant Casa Kaizen

“It is excellent news to see that a restaurant as prestigious as the Eleven Madison Park is turning 100% vegetable, thus allowing this gastronomy to gain its letters of nobility”, rejoices Florence Scanvic, president of the Montreal Vegetarian Association.

In Montreal, around fifteen veggie restaurants have opened (often take-out …) over the past year, says Florence Scanvic. There are Burger Fiancé, Nopalito, Élirestor, Casa Kaizen, Obscène Végane, Le Mariachi, etc.

ITHQ plant version


Cavatelli pasta with Burgundian vegetable stew and carrot leaf pesto, from the ITHQ restaurant

Since fall 2020, training in plant nutrition has been offered at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ). “There was great enthusiasm for this program as soon as it came out,” says Ophélie Simoncelli, public relations manager for the ITHQ. There is a whole reflection behind it. How do you offer a full vegan menu, without trying to make a copy? ”

Another novelty: the ITHQ restaurant offers an enticing vegan take-out menu, in addition to the omnivorous menu. As an appetizer, there is a celeriac churro, served with a porcini and black garlic mayonnaise. As a main dish ? Cavatelli pasta with Burgundian vegetable stew and carrot leaf pesto …

Beef Quebec reaction


Famille Fontaine ground beef, produced in Quebec

How do producers perceive this antibovin movement? “It does not really annoy us,” says Jean-Sébastien Gascon, coordinator of the Bœuf Québec program and general manager of the Société des parcs fattment du Québec. “We have more than quadrupled our beef sales figures in major brands like IGA, Metro, Provigo, Maxi” from March 2020 to March 2021, he argues. “We don’t tell the world to eat more meat, we say, ‘If you eat beef, why not eat local beef?’ ”

“We are definitely working towards beef that is less damaging to the environment,” adds Jean-Sébastien Gascon. Much hope is placed in the capture of carbon by pastures and in food supplements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants. “Can we become carbon neutral in the next five years? he asks himself. I believe him. ”

> Visit the Epicurious website

> Visit the Eleven Madison Park website

> More information on the ITHQ plant food diploma