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Regenerative agriculture is a hot topic in the world of sustainability right now. Although there is no clear, universally accepted definition, it describes farming and grazing practices that can improve the land’s health, and biodiversity, and improve the carbon-storing abilities of soils. It is widely believed to hold many of the answers to how we can reduce carbon emissions from agricultural practices.
At M, we have been exploring what the benefits of Regenerative Agriculture could be for the hospitality sector. It all began with a conversation with industry friend ‘Honest Burger’ who have worked to overhaul their entire beef supply chain to be regeneratively farmed to reduce the carbon footprint of their beef. This led us to their supplier, ‘The Ethical Butcher’ who supply a range of meat and poultry products that come from UK farms practising Regenerative Agriculture.
After a trip to one of ‘The Ethical Butcher’ farms where we met farmer Neil who owns the first farm in the UK to be certified ‘Regenerative’ by certification body RegenAgri, and after sampling some products to ensure it’s high quality we pride ourselves on, we have introduced two cuts of regeneratively farmed beef to our menu: sirloin prime cut and ribeye on the bone.
To understand more about why we have done this, let’s explore what Regenerative Agriculture is all about.
What are the principles of Regenerative farming?
What is the difference between ‘regenerative’ and ‘organic’?
While there are many crossovers between the practices used in two types of farming, organic produce must go through a certification process in order to use the word on packaging and marketing, while regenerative currently does not. Organic includes a specific set of metrics that farms must adhere to in order to be certified, this is a fundamental difference between the two farming systems and one reason why ‘Regenerative’ is still universally undefined.
Unlike organic, the idea of regenerative is to treat each piece of land in different areas and climates around the world as individual entities, meaning that no single solution – a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – can be used to achieve sustainability. Each farm needs to be looked at individually to understand its specific needs when deciding what practices to implement, therefore there are no set metrics and KPIs and the focus instead is on the outputs, such as carbon sequestration potential.
What is carbon sequestration?
Simply put, carbon sequestration refers to the removal of carbon dioxide molecules from the air, storing them in plants and trees – otherwise known as carbon sinks. Forests, jungles, woodland areas and even the seabed are important for this, as they are our largest natural carbon sinks on the planet. Healthy soils are vital for plants to grow which is why there is such a strong emphasis on soil health in Regenerative Agriculture. Improving soils and increasing the right kind of plants and crops on agricultural land will improve the ability of the system to capture carbon and will go a significant way in the journey to lower emissions in agriculture.
M is proud to showcase these two cuts of regeneratively farmed beef on our menu, alongside our carbon-neutral Argentinian beef. M is also pleased to be a member of the Zero Carbon Forum’s working group on Regenerative Agriculture, to discover what advances we can make within the hospitality industry, and how scaling up this type of production could be possible not only in the UK, but also around the world.
In 2019, we became the first eco-friendly restaurant in the UK to offer ‘Carbon Neutral Steaks’. This month Martin Williams CEO travelled to Peru to see how our reforestation projects affect the lives of potential victims of modern-day slavery and sex traffickers. This was all in partnership with the ‘Not For Sale’ movement. At Rare, we have great pride in bringing you a truly eco-friendly eating experience at our restaurants in London and throughout the country. We hope you will continue to read about our ethical projects in our Impact blog.
What does it mean to be an eco-friendly restaurant?
It’s our ambition that our restaurants are empathetic, curious and courageous. Since founding M and becoming CEO of Gaucho, we have sought to create values-driven, eco-friendly restaurants at the heart of their communities. This community does not just include the location of the buildings, but also the suppliers around the world. We have numerous examples of how we display this, one of which is our commitment to raising both awareness and consistent financial contributions for the ‘Not for Sale’ movement.
Since 2019 we have contributed to multiple eco-friendly community projects across the globe (mostly South America) which support local communities to work with us on our reforestation programmes. This is one method that enables us to make our supply chain carbon neutral, and helps these communities in the process by creating a reliable living out of rainforest produce. This continues to protect these indigenous tribes and villages in danger of becoming victims of sex trafficking and modern slavery.
Our journey to become a net-zero restaurant and the impact we have on global society is a great source of pride to everyone at Rare Restaurants. This year alone we have planted over 25,000 trees, all to make sure that the steaks in our restaurants are eco-friendly. All in all, our partnership with the ‘Not For Sale’ Movement has improved the lives of over a thousand people.
How restaurants can help combat modern slavery
NFS is an organisation that fights modern slavery and sex trafficking around the globe, founded in 2014. Its founder, David Batstone, explained that his motivation for creating the movement was after he shockingly discovered that his favourite restaurant was made of forced workers. This included both waitresses and chefs, all being exploited by the owner.
For many people, our favourite restaurants are a huge part of our lives, so it’s important that our brand choices reflect the values of those who work and dine in them. I believe when a restaurant goes beyond food, drink and hospitality, it creates an incredible sense of loyalty and pride. Why? Because at their very best, a restaurant is not just a place to eat great food, it’s an organisation that enhances communities and brings about societal changes. At their very worst, like in David Batstone’s discovery, it represents shocking injustice.
My personal passion for restaurants comes from a desire to offer high-quality, eco-friendly eating experiences enjoyed by both a community of like-minded guests and the extraordinary staff who serve them. But more importantly, to contribute to a deeper purpose.
That’s why, since 2015, M restaurants have supported NFS through our ‘M Is Not For Sale’ initiative. This helps fund a project named ‘Dignata’ in Amsterdam, which takes forced sex workers out of the red light district, into the safety of restaurant employment.
Reforestation and plant projects in Peru
I recently travelled to Puerto Maldonado in Peru to witness the impact of two major projects. The first is the reforestation work of ‘Not For Sale’ with Camino Verde, and the second is to visit a village called Boca Pariamanu — a 5,000-hectare plantation (one hectare is around 2.5 acres, so it’s pretty big).
Percy Leva is the leader of the Camino Verde project, which involves growing new saplings from seed. The modest ‘farm’ (if you can call it that) grows around seventy different types of trees, twelve of which are in danger of becoming extinct. The plantation of these trees has an intricate roadmap – a strategy to plant them over a decade. Many of these special trees produce food, medicine and essential oils. All of this produce is vital to support the local ecosystem, and is needed for insects, bees, birds, animals and even human life to survive.
In the company of Percy and his spirited Camino Verde friends, I found a surprising new appreciation for the power of a plant. Who knew?
Reforestation and farming projects in the Amazon
Our ‘Not For Sale’ partnership projects also support nine villages and indigenous people of the Amazon, in Brazil. Illegal mining and ‘logging’ has caused deforestation, meaning the resulting devastation surrounds local villages. Many of these communities live in terrible poverty, so when offered ‘employment opportunities’ by miners, narco-traffickers or loggers, these desperate young people often choose to leave their families. They do this in the hope of providing for their loved ones financially. However, these situations are often far from what is promised, and they end up being raped, abused, or forced into slave labour camps and even prostitution.
The ‘NFS’ movement here has spent twenty years building trust with the villagers. Investing in various transport, reforestation and farming projects has given these communities not only a sustainable existence, but has also allowed them to profit from the natural produce of the forest. This is mainly from the cultivation and commercialisation of produce like brazil nuts and cacao, but also through entrepreneurial projects such as research tourism, jewellery and perfumes. All this means the young people in the community are no longer compelled to be tempted by illegal miners and loggers. Fernando, the leader of the tribe, gave me a tour of their land and introduced me to dozens of happy villagers. They are delighted by their self-sustainability and are always seeking more opportunities to enhance their quality of life even further. Amazing stuff!
Eco-friendly restaurants are the future
In the coming years, each company will embark on a path to become net-zero. We began ours in 2019. There are many ways to approach this, but at Rare Restaurants, we have found a holistic route to provide an eco-friendly eating option for our guests. With the help of partners like ‘Not for Sale’, we have also found a way to improve the planet and the lives of many people. The projects discussed above are evidence of this, and having spoken to many of our employees, this provides a great source of pride and internal community.
The ‘Sustainable Steak Movement’ (SSM) was created in 2021 to share the findings of our scientific research investments in multiple areas. This includes carbon footprint calculations, our findings on best practices in animal husbandry, sequestration, regenerative farming techniques, the decrease of carbon at source and options to reduce greenhouse gases. We have welcomed our invitation to join the SSM, and are working alongside the ‘Zero Carbon Forum’ to encourage other similar organisations to join and begin their own journey to become a net-zero restaurant. If we all work together, this exciting movement has incredible potential.
A menu dedicated to showcasing the world’s most exclusive and highest graded Kobe and Wagyu beef for £250 per person.
Since 2014, we have been proud to offer the highest grades of Kobe beef alongside exclusive award wining cuts of Blackmore Wagyu. This unique dining experience is for the true steak aficionado and celebrates the beauty of the ‘Japanese Cow’. To enjoy as an experience of 2 to 40 people, either with your own drinks parings, a sommelier’s selection, or with one of our recommended flights of wine.
The Wine Experience menu is available all day at M.
Please note, we need a minimum of 72 hours’ notice for booking this menu.
WAGYU EXPERIENCE MENU
BLACKMORE WAGYU BILTONG
Knuckle | Pickles
Apple | Horseradish | Foie Gras
The below Wagyu selection will be served with
15 hour Wagyu Parmesan Chips and Wood Cooked Broccoli
WAGYU SCOTCH EGG
BLACKMORE WAGYU GRADE 9++
Inside Skirt | 150g
BEESWAX BLACKMORE GRADE 9++
Sirloin | 100g
KOBE GR ADE 10+/A5
Fillet | The Highest Grade of Kobe Available in London | 50g
WAGYU CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Our ‘Tasting Table Wine Experiences’ take you on a journey through the countries and regions that inspire the wine list and menu at M. An opportunity to sample a selection of all time favourites, as well as future classics that take you off the beaten track. Many of these wines are not typically offered by the glass, making this a must for everyone interested in exploring the highlights of one of the UK’s most acclaimed wine lists.
The tastings are available as unique experiences or as flights to complement dining occasions.
Taste of the continents – £70 per person
Wines which are universally adored by the team at M – crowd pleasers that hit the spot time after time and work perfectly alongside the origins of our menu.
All glasses are 100ml in measure
Europe: Cuvée de Boisfleury, Alain Cailbourdin, Pouilly-Fume, Loire Valley, France, 2020
South Africa: Ken Forrester, Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2021
N America: MacMurray, Pinot Noir, Central Coast, California, 2017
Argentina: Alpasion, Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina, 2019
Australasia: Teusner, The Gentleman, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2020
Global Luxury- £95 per person
This experience some of the most emblematic wines and iconic producers from their respective countries, many of whom who have been on the journey with M since the very beginning. These are wines that consistently score high 90+ points from the world’s most respected wine critics – a truly special selection, very rarely available by the glass.
All glasses are 100ml in measure
Australasia: Henschke, ‘Croft’, Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 2019 (Parker 93)
SA: Ken Forrester, FMC, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2018 (Parker 92)
Argentina: Catena Zapata, Malbec Argentino, Mendoza, Argentina, 2018 (Parker 95)
N America: Villa Ragazzi, Sangiovese, Napa Valley, California, USA, 2014 (Obama 100)*
Europe: Barbaresco Bordini DOCG, La Spinetta, Piedmont, Italy, 2018 (Parker 93)
Provence and Neighbours – £60 per person
Provence holds a special place in our hearts and serves as the inspiration for our M Canary Wharf venue. From the famed Rhone Valley to the sun drenched Cote d’Azur, this stunning backdrop also provides the diverse landscape necessary for producing some of the most intriguing – and on trend wines in France.
All glasses are 100ml in measure
La Folie, Côtes de Provence, France, 2018 (Sparkling Rose)
Mirabeau, ‘Pure’, Côtes de Provence, France, 2019 (Rose)
‘Etoile’, Mirabeau, Côtes de Provence, France, 2019 (Rose)
Domaine Gilles Robin, Les Marelles Organic, Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, Rhône Valley, France 2018 (White)
Cuvée Les Pierres, Le Cellier du Princes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France, 2019 (Red)
Minimum 6 guests required
7 days notice required
At its heart, regenerative agriculture is about being considered about the food we eat and the land it’s grown on. It’s about our health, protecting our planet, and is arguably the single most exciting frontier for the food industry today.
Whilst M offers carbon neutral beef all-year-round, in 2023 we’re taking things one step further, by leading the regenerative movement. Championing sustainability is at M’s core, so try our new, three-course lunch menu created with regeneratively farmed British beef from The Ethical Butcher and farmer Neil Harley, using ethically sourced ingredients.
Our Sustainable Set Lunch Menu is available from 12pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.
See menu HERE
An experience of elevated discovery, a culinary journey which celebrates the senses of smell and taste, through texture, temperature, and smoke. The six-course showcase menu, (which removes and heightens primary senses) is paired with drinks to compliment each dish and is accompanied with a bespoke symphonic soundtrack curated by Woody Cook. Course by course the music begins with a reset of the mind, embarks on a geographical adventure, embracing the seasons and climaxing in a multi-sensory mini rave and a relaxing wind down.
Available for a minimum of four guests. 48 hours’ notice required to secure booking. Sharing tables available on every second Tuesday of the month from 11th April for any number of guests.
CHAMPAGNE FIVE WAYS
Blindly travelling to Epernay to celebrate taste and touch
Grape, Tart, Granita, Jelly
Served with Ruinart Blanc de Blanc 125ml
Extreme temperatures to define extra-ordinary textures and flavours
Blackened Tomato, Burrata Ice cream, Consommé, Tomato gel
Served with a Basil Martini Gimlet
PINE SMOKED VENISON TARTARE
A festive, candlelit, smoky, fireside, sensation
Pine, Chervil, Capers, Duck fat, Egg
Served with smoked Napa Pinot Noir 125ml
BLACKMORE WAGYU SIRLOIN
A ‘woody mix’ to elevate the mood as colour is removed & black is amplified in every way
Charcoal Rub, Burnt Onions, Edible charcoal logs, Warm Brioche Roll
Served with a ‘blind grape’ 125ml
Le modern interpretation to Le Train Bleu giving you an overload of comfort & texture
Warm Brioche Roll, Blue Cheese Ice Cream
Accompanied by Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Acid, sugar and salt are the stars – is your palate ready?
Ice cream, dill, cucumber, Lemon, Olive oil, Meringue shard
Accompanied with a Cocktail of Raspberry and Port
(A vegan menu is available upon request).
Welcome to our summary blog for 2022. At M, last year was packed full of projects, events, new initiatives and new openings. Did you know we were the winner of the R200 best new opening of 2022? But we want to be known for much more than just this, especially when it comes to our impact.
With our new and improved impact strategy, we made real progress in 2022. With staff education, new partners and engaging our suppliers with our net zero ambitions, we made genuine strides to achieving our eco-friendly goals.
Let’s look back at the year, what we achieved and what’s in store for 2023.
London Climate Change Events in 2022
In the summer we outlined a whole host of London Climate Change events, including London Climate Action Week, Sustainable Events Show and Net Zero Week. Attending such events was a prime opportunity to build relationships with partners and potential suppliers, all who share a similar mindset around restaurant sustainability. You can be sure that London’s best restaurants of 2022 were there.
Becoming an eco-friendly restaurant
Last year saw us step with our actions in becoming an eco-friendly restaurant. In a letter from our founder, we outlined our goal for empathy, curiosity and courage. Since the genesis of this restaurant group, we have sought to create values-driven, eco-friendly restaurants at the heart of their communities.
And we have set real goals to back this up, aiming to be a net zero business by 2040. While this is ambitious, we believe that by doing more every year, we can achieve this goal of achieving net zero across Scopes 1 and 2 by 2030 and Scope 3 by 2040.
We are committed to sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment. In 2022, the restaurant group undertook several initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon footprint and waste, while also providing impact awareness training for its staff. Let’s take a look.
Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and Food Made Good
We were excited to become a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in 2021. The SRA works with businesses across the foodservice industry, industry bodies, campaign groups and suppliers to accelerate change towards an environmentally and socially progressive sector.
In this process, we were awarded a One Star Food Made Good sustainability rating last year, assessing our commitments in sourcing, society and environment. Our highest overall score was achieved in the environment category thanks to a number of initiatives, including:
● A zero-waste-to-landfill policy.
● All food waste going to anaerobic digestion.
● A 75% recycling rate across all restaurants.
Zero Carbon Forum (ZCF)
ZCF encourages its members to reach sustainability targets with better efficiency, speed and effectiveness. These guys helped us identify carbon emission hotspots and priority areas to tackle.
As part of working with the ZCF, we investigated the benefits of regenerative agriculture; one of the many initiatives to help decarbonise the supply chain. For more information on how we used this, see an article written from the London Economic on how we ‘put regenerative farming on the map with carbon-neutral beef’.
Increased food supply from local producers
As highlighted in our Food Made Good assessment, we needed to do some work on increasing food supply from local producers. So we did.
We recently formed a new partnership with supplier The Ethical Butcher: an organisation that prides itself on providing beef from UK farms that practise regenerative agriculture. This means they use farmers that honour natural systems and farm in ways that increase biodiversity and regenerate the land, having a good impact on the British countryside.
Then there’s Crate to Plate. This is an incredible organisation that harnesses state-of-the-art hydroponics technology, using purpose-built containers that allow us to fully control the farming conditions – in Canary Wharf. What does this mean for your dining experience? Well, if you order M’s Crate To Plate salad as a side, you’ll be dining on leaves grown less than 20 minutes’ walk away. How cool is that?
While on the topic of Canary Wharf, last year we began supporting Canary Wharf’s Biodiversity Action Plan and became a stakeholder in the Canary Wharf Climate Action Working Group. Who knew Canary Wharf was such a vibrant place for sustainability initiatives?
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
We partnered with The Carbon Group who analysed the life cycle carbon emissions of our signature Argentinian beef to generate a carbon footprint and to assess the environmental impacts of the whole supply chain. The insights gained from the LCA have helped the restaurant group identify opportunities for reducing the carbon footprint and improve our supply chain.
Not For Sale
Not For Sale is one of our most active charity partners, and were extremely proud of what they achieved in 2022. Last year, the projects we invested in as part of M, offset an estimated 213 tonnes of CO2 emissions from our beef. Not only this, but the projects also provide income and employment opportunities for communities at risk of modern-day slavery or trafficking.
Impact Awareness Training for staff
Last year we created a new Impact Awareness training program for all our staff, aimed at educating them on sustainability concepts and principles. This is to ensure everyone in the business is aligned with our sustainability goals.
Sustainable energy use
We have been purchasing 100% renewable electricity for several years, but in 2022 the restaurant group took steps to be more energy-efficient by reducing unnecessary electricity usage during closed times. The Save While You Sleep initiative allowed us to measure and reduce electricity usage during closed time by improving shutdown and opening practices, and identifying inefficient equipment to replace.
BREEAM Certified Building
Our M Newfoundland building is BREEAM certified, achieving 4 out of 6 stars for sustainability in construction. This assesses things like low impact design and carbon emissions reduction, design durability, adaptation to climate change and biodiversity protection.
What’s happening in 2023 at M Restaurants?
Supply Chain Decarbonisation
One of our priorities for 2023 is to engage with our supply chain to enhance the decarbonisation process, with a focus on creating a formal carbon reduction strategy based on the recommendations from the LCA. The restaurant group will also be auditing its entire supplier network to ensure their sustainability priorities are in line with our own.
M is also improving its staff training this year, with a spotlight on waste management, energy efficiency, and food waste reduction. We will be measuring food waste across the restaurants and using our position as signatories of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap with the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) to support our chefs with food waste reduction goals.
We will continue to support our many charity partners, including Not For Sale. By investing in various transport, reforestation and farming projects has given these communities not only a sustainable existence, but has allowed them to profit from the natural produce of the forest.
The restaurant group will also calculate site-specific carbon footprints to target certain restaurants and set more specific reduction targets. The more targeted a problem is, the easier it is to solve.
That concludes our yearly review and why we made the best steak in London. For more information on our sustainability initiatives, check out our Impact blogs and follow us on our Instagram @mrestaurants. The restaurant group is passionate about sustainability, working with the community, and serving delicious meat.
On World Environment Day we are delighted to announce our involvement in the Better Business Act Coalition (BBA), an agreement that pledges to focus on aligning the interests of stakeholders with those of wider society and the planet. Put simply, this means ensuring that our businesses join hundreds of others, to pledge to take responsibility to protect the world we live in.
M is proud to partner with NOT FOR SALE, a global organisation that works to end human trafficking. All profits from M IS NOT FOR SALE, supported by OpenTable, will raise money for Dignita, a restaurant group in Amsterdam which works as a social enterprise model running culinary training programmes to rehabilitate those who have experienced exploitation or trafficking. The survivors are trained in employment skills to grow their confidence to re-enter the work force. The limited edition menu designed by M’s Executive Chef, Mike Reid, takes inspiration from Peru, Vietnam, Thailand and USA, 5 of the 9 countries where NOT FOR SALE projects have funded the building of homes and creating a support structure to free children and adults from sex trafficking and the slave trade.