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What is sustainability and what is sustainability at Lisbon Cooking Academy?

Here at Lisbon Cooking Academy we like to do things well, the best way we know, and we are always ready to learn. This is our perspective on sustainability, which has been inspiring blogs, documentaries and speeches all around the world. 

The word sustainability has its etymological origin in the Latin sustentare which means sustain, support, preserve and care for. Basically it means making things last the way they are as long as possible so it is accessible to more people. For us, who are inspired by the matriarchal Portuguese way of doing things, we love to preserve things and take care of our loved ones. From our culture and country to the world. The water we drink to the products we use, all the way from the supply chain to what we serve in our tables. Keep reading for a bit longer so you get to know more.

1. Environmental sustainability

Filtered water, with and without gas

We are lucky that we live in a country with high quality tap water, tested regularly in laboratories that make it very good for human consumption. However, who does not like that extra care when it comes to water, especially knowing that over 70% of our organism is made out of it? We’re always amazed by this fact. That is why we’ve invested in a water filter machine to purify the water we drink and serve. It is delicious, ready to fill our reusable bottles and it comes with an extra twist: bubbly water. We’re actually drinking a glass now, fancy one too?

We recycle all we can

Portugal has an organised recycling system managed by Sociedade Ponto Verde that has been running successfully since 1996. The majority of Portuguese people, including grandparents and children, know how to separate their packages at home and in which colourful container each material goes to. However, it is never too late to remember that the more of us are doing it correctly, the smaller our individual and collective carbon footprint will be. We proudly recycle here. And we also reuse.

And get creative reusing

The old chickpea jar that becomes a flower vase, the lupin pot that becomes a lemonade glass, the old box that keeps rice and pasta safe or even caters those caldeirada leftovers from a workshop. Even the jam jar that is now home of homemade pickles. Also, we try to avoid buying food wrapped-up in plastic by buying the majority of our products at the local market, 31 de Janeiro, supporting local producers and early bird workers that give us the best fresh seasonal produce.

2. Social Sustainability

Putting the money in who deserves it

As we were saying, whenever we can we support our neighbours or as we like to say these days, we support small local businesses -pretty much like us. How? Simple. We buy the majority of our ingredients at the local market, a five-minute walk from the Academy. We also carry our own cotton and old plastic bags (to carry dirty potatoes or wet spinach, for instance) and we choose local delicious products, not necessarily calibrated (all with the same size) and on season. Seasonality is actually fundamental not only to support locals but also to give our body the right nutrients at the right season. Mamma nature is never wrong.

Our neighbours are the best

This seems pretty obvious to us, supporting like-minded businesses and people. We strongly support our local community that we love: Laura’s bakery "Pão com Calma" specialized in sourdough bread, the ceramics atelier around the corner, Mufla and Clementina new home and, of course, we donate any food leftovers from events and workshops. In a nutshell, we act here exactly like we do at home. This is our contribution to a circular economy. It may seem little but if we all do our bit, can you imagine how big we will get collectively?

3. Cultural Sustainability

A portuguese style home

Last but not least, we are committed to keep our Portuguese culture alive and in good shape. We believe this is a very strong pillar when it comes to sustainability, especially in a globalized world, where eating a pizza or avocado on toast has become the staple foods no matter where you are in the globe -btw, we love avocado on toast, mostly the ones grown in the Algarve. So what do we do to preserve our gastronomy? 

Our Academy’s academia

Ana Viçoso, our head and hands chef has learnt the classical gastronomy techniques, yet keeping an eye on the latest food trends towards a more natural way of cooking. These are the principles taught at her workshops, keeping alive the most delicious recipes, the ones that only Portuguese grandma’s know how to do. At Lisbon Cooking Academy we collaborate with renowned chefs and cooks, reinventing us daily. Whether it is learning new techniques or testing new recipes using less salt, sugar and fat. Who does not love eating healthy food that tastes deliciously?

Nature is our home

Our cooking style is unpretentious and aims to go back to the roots, the Portuguese tradition. We believe education is key, both ours and our students, friends and neighbours. We try to inspire people to eat less meat-heavy meals -we will spare you from all details but it is never too much to remember that the majority of world’s soil is occupied by cattle. Like with everything else, we are not fans of extremisms but we do believe that it is important for more people to eat a plant-based diet with legumes, cereals, fruits and vegetables as a base. In the name of our health and our planet.

Keeping an eye out there

As we were saying, we respect tradition but we do not live in a bubble away from contemporary trends, hence we support a balanced and varied diet, close to the Mediterranean principles. In our events and workshops we use preparation and confection techniques as naturally as possible and we love including all the rainbow colours on our plates: greens, reds, yellows, even whites and browns. This is the only way to get all nature’s super powers so we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

Our codfish is not exactly ours

Writing about Portuguese food would neve be complete without talking about our beloved bacalhau aka salted dry codfish which is actually from Norway. We absolutely love bacalhau and teach how to cook its 1001 ways but are conscious it may not be the most sustainable of all foods. Our partner Bacalhau Riberalves is certified by MSC, the Marine Stewardess Council which is a quality stamp when it comes to fish that is fished by a set of sustainability principles. As with everything in life, it is a balance. And we constantly look up for ours. 

This is what you can expect from us. We may not be perfect but we do our best in every class, every experience and every day. Come and join us in this journey by booking your spot to one our events, online or in real life.