Kilometer 0 does not exist
Posted in FreshAira on February 26, 2013 by
Kilometer 0 in the restaurant business does not exist. It is an anachronistic contradiction. And really it is a fantasy, only for publicity purposes.
But what is Kilometer 0?
KM 0 means using only products of the immediate area of our restaurant. It means only working using products that are in season. It means avoiding having a peach travel halfway around the globe, in February, just to satisfy our capricious clients.
OK, that said it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But if we reflect just a bit, it is not really such a new idea. 40 or 50 years ago, trattorias and small restaurants worked exactly in this way, essentially for two good reasons. It was the only way possible, but above all it was the most cost effective way of working.
It is pointless to say that things today have changed. One of the mysteries of globalization is that vegetables and fruit often cost less when coming from further away. The seasons still exist but the seasonality of products on our table is present 365 day a year.
For this reason many of our clients struggle to understand why they do not find products in our restaurant that they easily see every day in supermarkets at an excellent price.
Let us be clear that the concept behind Km 0 is not wrong: eat better and pollute less. But it only makes sense if it is applied in its entirety and is economically feasible and sustainable.
Here is where a problem arises, who is truly able to follow the idea of Km 0?
Let’s completely exclude Italian restaurants abroad, and all other ethnic restaurants for obvious reasons.
Let’s leave out too all restaurants in big cities.
The only people who can truly follow Km 0 are the few agri-tourisms or the even fewer restaurants that are located in rural areas blessed with an abundance of resources. These are businesses that produce and cultivate a big part of what is used in their kitchens. These restaurants follow the philosophy behind KM 0 as their unique distinctive feature, not any desire to follow a trend. Their clients already know what to expect, and in fact are pulled in for this reason.
Finding on a restaurant menu some type of dish or product proudly originated from Km 0 makes one smile, considering that a good part of what is used in the kitchen has probably traveled the world three times.
That said, buying everything possible locally and using the freshest seasonal products is the responsibility of every chef or restaurateur, but it is simply common sense.