Authentic and honest. This describes not only the natural world of the Austrian Alps, but also Klemens Schraml’s guiding culinary idea. At his restaurant Rau in Großraming, the starred chef and METRO customer has worked with chef Christopher Koller since 2018 to unite Austrian gourmet cuisine with eco-conscious sustainability.
Knowledge of the provenance and value of different foods forms the basis of Schraml’s craft. The restaurant proprietor calls his philosophy nature-based cuisine – but he doesn’t allow an eco-imperative to dictate his choice of ingredients.
Nature-based – what does that mean?
‘Nature-based cuisine is about bringing out the best in food, revealing its very nature,’ Schraml says in explaining his concept. ‘The character of the products – their smell, taste and texture – is especially important. Whenever possible, we rely on regional products, preferably in organically grown quality, and let the seasons inspire us.’
The restaurateur also tries to avoid food waste. Most recently, it was the banana that was keeping Schraml and Koller busy. ‘Bananas are thrown away the most,’ Schraml says. His credo: if it’s old, don’t throw it away – create something new. Accordingly, to make the dessert ‘Do not waste Bananas’, he glazes overripe bananas with lime rum and serves them with coconut foam and coconut ice cream. ‘We prefer to eat ripened cheese, after all,’ Schraml says. ‘So why not appreciate and use the intense flavour and fragrance of a brown banana.’
Less waste, more appreciation
The entrepreneur calls on us all to appreciate food more again. To this end, he and his team are currently mounting a transnational project – featuring, among other things, livestreams for all who wish to engage with the subject and exchange their ideas about it with others. ‘An appreciative relationship to food and sustainable business management both begin with buying intelligently. Our kitchen plans carefully, to determine what it will need in the coming days and in what amounts. That saves money and minimises waste.’ Schraml likes to give leftover food to his guests to take home. For this purpose, he buys sustainable takeaway tableware at METRO. ‘We live here at the edge of the wilderness,’ he says. ‘It shows us again and again that we’re just guests in an ecological system.’
Sustainability in gastronomy
‘Nature-based cuisine’ is a good example of a successful concept for sustainable business practices that are also economically viable. METRO, too, supports customers in questions such as energy efficiency, waste management and the use of plastics and packaging: sales force managers provide tailored advice on where there is room for improvement in the company. Additionally, the product range includes not only many regional products, for instance meat, but also vegetarian alternatives as well as packaging from recyclable, and in some cases compostable, materials.