It turns out there are a few places in the world where being called a potato head is a good thing. Rural communities in Idaho as well as Prince Edward Island in Canada, for example, are spots where hardy farmers don't mind the moniker as they generate some of the best spuds in the world.
There's another locale in Bali that isn't quite known for potatoes, but for something far more ecologically significant. That would be the Potato Head Beach Club, site of Indonesia's first-ever self-sustaining eatery that has servings of locally-sourced food that boasts a preparation system that produces no waste at all.
The fish, for example, comes courtesy of local anglers who catch what will be on the menu later on by using rod-and-reel gear so that everything caught actually gets used. In the kitchen, that same fish is cooked over an open fire using local wood. All the veggies from cauliflower to beans as well as an assortment of tropical fruit comes from the local Jatiluwih rice terraces grown in more traditional ways under the heritage protection of Unesco.
“We wanted to prove that a zero-waste aesthetic can be modern, so guests can expect to feel like they’re at a design-led restaurant that has placed a strong focus on interiors, but it’s just that all of our furniture and amenities are derived from alternative resources,” said Karen Day, director of communications for Potato Head Beach Club.
It doesn't just stop at what's on the menus, which are made from locally sourced recycled materials. The dining floor was created from smashed plates, cups and glasses bonded with cement mortar. All the furniture is from recycled substances such as old tires, foam off-cuts from motorcycles and wood ethically removed from nearby forests (as in no chopping down trees).
As for what's on the tables, the wax candles placed inside sliced wine bottles are created from the gloppy remains of cooking oil previously used in the kitchen. The chopsticks come from recycled, chipped plastic, while the reusable napkins were decorated with local eco-friendly dyes and designed by hand.
Staff at the open-air restaurant ensures no item is thrown away, no matter how gross it might be. What isn't consumed is sorted out into five different storage bins that run the gamut from organic to artificial. The leftover food is either composted or sent to pig farms as meals for the local oinkers, while recipients of crustacean shells crush them for fertilizer. The rest of what's unused goes to the local waste management company.
Call them potato heads all you want, but it's how they used their organic minds is what counts and could make a big difference when hospitality meets sustainability.