Chef Rainer Zinngrebe is the Vice President Culinary, Corporate Chef at Marriott Luxury Brands International. He has an enormous amount of experience in high-end high-volume dining. We recently caught up with Zinngrebe to ask him a few questions about how he embraces sustainable practices in a more “corporate” environment.
How long have you been involved with the food industry and how did you first come to it?
I started in my parents’ pub/restaurant at the age of 12. So about 42 years ago. My dad was a trained maître d’ and always loved the industry. So it was a natural progression into a cook’s apprenticeship at the age of 16. That was the start.
What does sustainability mean to you?
It means a lot. When you are looking after a large organization like ours, one little change in our behavior can have a lot of influence and impact on how things get done.
When it comes to your own product sourcing, what are some specific sustainability-related issues you really look out for?
We are currently focusing on sustainable seafood a lot. Since the oceans are already overfished and the ecological balance is fragile, we can have a real impact on the oceans if we do the right thing on the procurement side. There are many other highly complex issues and the more we can learn about the complexities and what it truly means to be sustainable, the better. Social sustainability, environmental sustainability, and ecological sustainability all need to be taken into consideration (not just one of them) to truly make an educated choice at the end of it.
How do you help reduce waste within the food community while being such a large corporation?
We have a food waste reduction initiative company-wide that we are focusing on in 2018 and 2019 with pilot programs across the world. Once we have all the feedback, we will go to full implementation of all the initiatives by 2020. In addition, many of our hotels have local initiatives, from donating to composting etc. as well.