Upon visiting Sérêvène, the swanky new French and Japanese-inspired restaurant within South Beach’s Hotel Greystone, diners might talk about the deconstructed beef tartare prepared tableside. They’ll rave about creative desserts like the dragon fruit lemonade popsicle for adults or tasty post-dinner nightcaps like the creamy Glenlivet-infused Ferrero Rocher. But what they might not mention is perhaps what makes the restaurant both notable and noble: a diehard commitment to sustainability.
“Sustainability is a big part of my philosophy and culinary journey and, at Sérêvène, we do our best to embrace that sentiment to the fullest,” says managing director and executive chef Pawan Pinisetti. “It was one of the focal points when we built the food and beverage program for the hotel. It wasn’t an afterthought.”
In his kitchen, not a scrap goes unused. Vegetable peels, citrus skins and meat trimmings, which are usually discarded, are tossed into broths for soups, glazes and noodle dishes. Visually imperfect herbs are turned into oils. Even their disposable products are made with eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastics or avocado pulp.
His sourcing is done responsibly, too. The main ingredient in crowd favorites like the salmon sashimi comes from Ora King, New Zealand-based supplier of the world’s finest humanely raised salmon. Every cut of meat, like the succulent strip loin used in the beef tataki or the red wine-braised beef cheek with lemongrass coconut curry sauce, is sourced from USDA-certified Creekstone Farms. Both are listed prominently on the menu. “People today are far more educated and want to know about their product, whether it’s local or hyper-local, or what one’s sustainable practices are,” he says. “We have the opportunity, and the way the food is presented allows us to interact with the guests.”
Chef Pinisetti has trained under some of the world’s most notable chefs over the course of an 18-year career, including Tom Colicchio, Michael Mina and the late Joël Robuchon, pioneer of modern French cuisine and the world’s most Michelin-starred chef. He’s helmed some of the nation’s largest convention and banquet facilities, oversaw food-and-beverage strategy projects for MGM Resorts International and most recently elevated the cuisine at the iconic Top of the World Restaurant. Today, the Chopped winner brings his talents from Sin City to the Magic City where he’s excited to execute his vision for a greater, greener restaurant.
“Honestly, it’s just the right thing to do. Just like my financial responsibilities are towards the business, its owners, and the staff, as a person on this planet it’s also my responsibility to be sustainable,” says Pinisetti.
Embracing sustainability isn’t just for restaurants, bars and hotels; it’s also something that diners can do, too. He recommends tossing unused stems, meat trimmings, peels or produce slices into the freezer. Keep adding more to the bag and when you’re ready to make, say, pasta or a sauce, toss the frozen scraps into the pot to bring not only extra nutrients into the dish but also an incredibly unique flavor. The same goes for bacon fat. Store it and use it the next morning when making eggs. And if you must use a plastic bag because it’s unavoidable, make it a point to use it not once but two or three more times.
“If we can think outside of the box, there’s so much we can do,” says Pinisetti. “We do have a responsibility towards shaping the next generation of young culinarians to think and act responsibly. Sustainability is not just a gimmick or something we want to feature on our menu. It should be a thought process that all of us need to embrace to whatever extent we can. It doesn’t have to be a complete change in your lifestyle, it just has to be a part of it.”