Photo Credit: The Calyx

Celebrating zero waste, biodiversity and nature

Celebrating zero waste, biodiversity and nature, The Calyx, set in the heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, was the venue for an exclusive zero-waste dinner.

Themed ‘ZERO – where sustainability tastes better’, the dinner was hosted by Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust’s Principal Environment Partner, HSBC Bank Australia.

The Calyx team – including the award-winning on-site event firm Laissez-faire Catering – united with one of Australia’s leading sustainable chefs Matt Stone, to curate a sustainably-sourced menu highlighting some of the best produce Australia has to offer.

Sara Flaksbard, General Manager, Laissez-faire Catering said the creative recipes were highly planned to create minimal waste and a reduced footprint, with strategically sourced local and seasonal ingredients selected.

“Produce was requested to be organic or biodynamic with no single-use plastic items being used (not even cling wrap) and any unused produce was recycled and used in the cooking process or composted to grow more ingredients. Food wastage is a big by-product of events, so we carefully planned the amount of food to match attendees, limiting supply to minimise the environmental impact.”

“It was great to learn from a leading sustainable chef in this space and Matt has inspired our team to continue to push boundaries and try new ‘out-of-the-box’ sustainable cooking,” said Flaksbard.

Photo Credit: The Calyx

A taster of the sustainable menu included:

– Fried akoya oysters, a native oyster that reinvigorates the fisheries industry in Albany, W.A.
– Cricket balls, made with crickets, a sustainable protein booster.
– Broccoli with preserved lemon and almond, the top part of the broccoli was turned into a crunchy salad and the stem was poached and grilled.
– Steamed grouper with greens and bone broth. Produce was sourced from Rocky Point Aquaculture, a sustainable fish farm in south Queensland that recently won the Producer of the Year Award in Delicious Produce Awards.
– Gin and orange parfait with cultured butter where the whole fruit of the orange was used to match the zero-waste theme.

The event was an opportunity to celebrate the work HSBC’s clients are doing to transition to net zero, and the plant-inspired space offered by The Calyx was chosen as the perfect location to share how HSBC is supporting the delivery of nature and biodiversity-related outcomes.

Over the years, HSBC has supported a number of projects designed to accelerate and scale up investments in coastal ecosystems, which is why the menu echoed this sentiment and Matt Stone was chosen to lead the culinary design.

Photo Credit: The Calyx

“The Gardens’ critical research and conservation aims to protect Australian plant species for future generations and preserve biodiversity.”

Alpa Bhattacharjee, Head of Sustainability, HSBC Bank Australia said their 25-year partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust has always focused on biodiversity conservation, so The Calyx was the ideal choice to highlight their environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

“We needed a venue that was flexible enough to showcase and deliver the zero-waste goals that we had set for the evening whilst providing an immersive and memorable experience. The Calyx is a physical embodiment of what our partnership aims to deliver, and the team were able to translate this vision from start to finish,” said Bhattacharjee.

Elevating the environmentally-themed event, The Calyx’s moveable floral displays and the spectacular green wall made up of over 18,000 plants immersed the guests. An organic style runner featured as the table centrepiece and included cabbages, pumpkins and radishes, which were donated to OzHarvest after the event, along with any leftover prepared food. Even the napkins were washable velvet to reduce paper waste.

Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Denise Ora, said reducing environmental impact has always been a key focus for the Gardens, and extends to The Calyx and the events it hosts. “The Gardens’ critical research and conservation aims to protect Australian plant species for future generations and preserve biodiversity.”

“Being able to work with chef Stone and provide an adaptive, innovative, and sustainable offering aligns with the Gardens’ vision to help create a society where people are motivated to recognise the importance of the natural environment in their lives and to support its conservation. We are thrilled with how this event came together,” said Ms Ora.

At this event, 16kg of produce was donated to OzHarvest and 2.5kg of waste was composted. The whole event was 99% zero food waste.