Is this Devon’s most eco-friendly restaurant?

PUBLISHED: 14:18 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:18 22 September 2020

Tim and Clare Bouget of cafe-ODE at Shaldon, awarded the highest rated sustainable restaurant in the UK for an unprecedented two successive years. Photo: Steve Haywood

Tim and Clare Bouget of cafe-ODE at Shaldon, awarded the highest rated sustainable restaurant in the UK for an unprecedented two successive years. Photo: Steve Haywood

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Award-winning chef Tim Bouget of cafe-ODE in Shaldon is offering green-friendly food choices

cafe-ODE buys the finest local produce and then presents it to customers in a sustainable manner. Photo: Steve Haywoodcafe-ODE buys the finest local produce and then presents it to customers in a sustainable manner. Photo: Steve Haywood

To eat out is a treat and one many of us have missed during lockdown. Conversations over the dinner table up and down the land have had a similar theme as we slaved over our own hot stove night after night: “What will be your first meal out when this is over?”

The luxury of having food cooked for you, with no washing up afterwards, is something that will never get old. But what if you want to do your bit for sustainability, the planet and still have that treat? Many restaurants are embracing food miles, vegan diets and organic ingredients but I defy you to find one that puts as much thought into it as cafe-ODE in Shaldon. 

Nestled along the River Teign estuary, cafe-ODE was teased into life by Tim and Clare Bouget back in 2012, turning a former stables into an eco-conscious building in every aspect. The improvements included a timber-frame new build, solar thermal, sedum roof, renewable energy, induction cooking suite, recycling and upcycling and much more. 

As a testament to the care and creativity of them both, the awards soon came thick and fast. When you are awarded the highest rated sustainable restaurant in the UK for an unprecedented two successive years, beating the likes of River Cottage, I think you can safely say this is something quite special.

Tim Bouget says adapting cafe-ODE to cope during the coronavirus pandemic just meant going back in time. Photo: Steve HaywoodTim Bouget says adapting cafe-ODE to cope during the coronavirus pandemic just meant going back in time. Photo: Steve Haywood

As I chat with Tim and Clare though it is clear that whilst awards are amazing it’s the day to day that they get the biggest kick from, coming up with newer and better ways all the time to be more sustainable and ultimately give the customer the best experience.

READ MORE: 8 of the best vegetarian restaurants to try in Devon

During the coronavirus pandemic this hasn’t been easy but, as Tim explains, it just meant going back in time: “We’ve adapted really quickly because we started out as takeaway only and then over the years evolved to dining in.

“So, during the pandemic we have reverted to specific order and takeaway areas but with plenty of outdoor and undercover seating so people feel safe. We are even delivering to their cars as they drive up so people don’t even have to get out if they prefer not to.

“We are encouraging online pre-ordering as well, which has been really successful as it is better for the customer and better for us as there is less waste.”

It is of course all about the food but the joy of having someone else think about how to be kind to the planet in the process for you is immeasurable. From the quality of the food to the way it is sourced, cooked and then delivered to you every thought has been covered as Tim explains: “The quality comes first; we buy the finest local produce and then we present it in compostable boxes and cups. Next, we make it so the customer doesn’t even have to think about what to do with the waste as we show them where and how to recycle.”

As ways to become more eco-conscious evolve all the time you can be sure that Clare and Tim will be ahead of the game. You can enjoy eating out with a clear conscience and with their next project you can help too, as Clare explains: “We are in the process of working out the carbon footprint for our menu. So, for a week in November we will put on the menu what the carbon emissions are for each dish and then the customer can choose mindfully what dish they would like.”

With an online store where you can buy the organic ingredients that Tim uses in the kitchen and more ideas for pop-up fine dining events in the future; it is clear this business is never going to stand still.

It can be best described with a word that has cropped up in my mind when interviewing them...thoughtful…because it ultimately sums up both the couple behind the vision and the business they have created. Everything is done with a great deal of thought, creativity and care. What better way to look after this beautiful planet of ours?

Find out more here about Tim’s food businesses

odetruefood.com

3 EASY WAYS TO MAKE YOUR COOKING MORE SUSTAINABLE

Embracing funny-looking fruits and veggies can go a long way in reducing food waste.

Oats already have a low carbon footprint, and overnight oats get a sustainability bump: this tasty breakfast requires no heat.

Eating produce in season is tastier and can be better for the planet - make your fruit and veg choices accordingly.

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