One on One Podcast

Silo London and The Zero-Waste Blueprint: Douglas McMaster's Visionary Approach to Sustainability

A conversation with Douglas McMaster

12 September 2023

Explore the captivating journey of Chef Douglas McMaster, the visionary behind Silo London, in this insightful podcast. McMaster shares his remarkable path from feeling like an outcast in school to discovering his true passion in the restaurant kitchen. His pivotal encounter with Joost Bakker, the "zero-waste guru," sparked a revolutionary idea: What if there were no bins in a restaurant? This question led to the birth of Silo, a groundbreaking establishment challenging the norms of the culinary world.

Douglas McMaster's philosophy centers on reconnecting with nature and embracing sustainability. He emphasizes the importance of awareness, open-mindedness, and compassion in reshaping our relationship with the environment. Through fermentation and innovative culinary techniques, Silo creates delectable dishes that defy waste.

This podcast offers a profound exploration of McMaster's worldview, where reverence for nature, mindfulness, and wisdom stand as guiding virtues. Discover the transformative power of sustainable dining and the profound impact it can have on our planet. Listen to Douglas McMaster's journey of culinary innovation, sustainability, and the quest to make the world a more harmonious place.

Podcast Key Points:

  • The Journey to Zero Waste: Chef Douglas McMaster discusses his transformation from a traditional chef to a pioneer in zero-waste dining, inspired by his mentor Joost Bakker.
  • Changing the Culinary Landscape: McMaster explains how his restaurant, Silo, redefines the norms of the culinary world by eliminating the concept of waste entirely, from sourcing to plate.
  • Nature as a Guide: The podcast delves into the philosophy of returning to nature's principles and integrating them into our food systems to combat the environmental crisis.
  • Making Sustainability Sexy: Silo's mission is to make sustainability appealing by ensuring that delicious flavors and aesthetic experiences are central to their zero-waste approach.
  • The Path Forward: McMaster emphasizes the need for awareness, openness, and kindness in fostering a new worldview that prioritizes sustainability and our interconnectedness with nature.
One on One podcast with Douglas McMaster of Silo London - Silo London and The Zero-Waste Blueprint: Douglas McMaster's Visionary Approach to Sustainability

Douglas McMaster

Chef, Silo, London, UK

Douglas began his career in 2003 at Winteringham Fields, a then two Michelin-starred restaurant. From there, he moved to London to work at Fergus Henderson’s ST. JOHN, which he credits as forming the foundation of his career. Following ST. JOHN, Douglas spent the next 2 years doing stages at dozens of different restaurants around the world in restaurants including Heston Blumenthal’s renowned The Fat Duck and two Michelin-starred Noma in Copenhagen.

In 2011, Douglas launched pop-up restaurant, Wasted, in Sydney and Melbourne, successfully testing his zero-waste concept by serving food that would have otherwise been wasted in the name of fine dining.

Douglas returned to the UK and motivated by the goal to create the world’s first zero-waste restaurant, opened Silo in Brighton in 2014 at the age of 26. With produce delivered ‘package free’, flour milled on site and compost machines turning scraps and trimmings into compost, Silo achieved its zero-waste goal. In October 2019, Douglas moved Silo to The White Building in London in a partnership with CRATE Brewery.

Throughout his career, Douglas has picked up numerous awards and accolades; in 2014 he won the ‘BBC Young Chef of the Year Award’ followed by ‘Britain’s Most Innovative Chef’ at the first Young British Foodie awards. Just two years after opening, Silo won the prestigious Observer Food Monthly Award for ‘Britain’s Most Ethical Restaurant’.  In June 2018, Silo also won ‘Britain’s Most Innovative Restaurant’ award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards. Most recently, Silo has been shortlisted in the ‘World Restaurant Awards 2019’ for innovation and ethical practice.

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