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Stem & Glory on creating a carbon negative bar & restaurant

March 14, 2022 by Joel Davidge

After launching in Cambridge in 2016, and following with a London store in 2019, Stem & Glory are expanding with a new “carbon negative” bar in London’s broadgate.

Working with a new wave of quality English winemakers and two fully sustainable Italian wine brands Tasca and Umani Ronch, Stem & Glory’s menu is a treat for sustainably minded drinkers.

On the spirits front, there are offerings from Stolichnaya Vodka who have made recent efforts to become more sustainable. All wines are Vegan and most are organic and biodynamic.

A recent Oxford University suggests that switching to a vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint.

With this in mind, we sat down with founder Louise Palmer-Masterton to chat about veganism, and building a sustainable hospitality brand.

Tell us a little about the concept behind Stem & Glory?

Stem & Glory is a contemporary brand, it’s the restaurant I had always wanted to eat in, but in 35 years of searching for a decent vegan restaurant I never found one.

I’ve been fortunate to eat in some of the best restaurants all over the world, but as a vegan it’s mostly been about compromise.

I love fine food, but am not keen on cross contaminated kitchens, and there wasn’t really any one doing fine casual dining in the vegan space, so that was the inspiration.

What prompted you to set up a plant-based bar and restaurant?

Stem & Glory isn’t my first business, and I have been self employed almost my entire working life.

I am very used to starting new things, and Stem & Glory did evolve from some earlier incarnations of a vegan café I piloted within another business.

I would say I was literally compelled to start Stem & Glory, I had a feeling I wasn’t alone in my search for a decent vegan restaurant, and it turned out I was right.

We have has the most fantastic response from our customers since we started, so we got the feeling we were onto something.

Louise Palmer-Masterton at Vegan and Carbon Negative bar Stem & Glory

As well as using plant products, what other factors did you need to consider ensuring that the bar was carbon negative?

Fitting out restaurants & bars is a hugely expensive business, not only in terms of buying stuff, but also of course in terms of emissions.

The single most important decision a business can make is to use only 100% renewable energy. That is followed by the use of repurposed products where possible.

There are an ever increasing number of cool businesses making contemporary furnishings and fittings from recycled, repurposed and grown products (such as mycelium).

I see this as a booming industry that is only going to grow in the coming years.

Historically recycled products were all a bit rustic, but that is not the case now.

After all the reduction initiatives, we are left with an emissions amount that we then work with various offset partners on offsetting.

It’s really important to understand that being net zero isn’t just about offset, it’s about changing a mindset, and getting everyone you deal with to change theirs. That way change is rapid.

Zero waste is a big upcoming drinks trend. What else do you see for the bar and restaurant industry in 2022?

Well there are lots of people who think veganism will never catch on, but that’s definitely not been evidenced in our restaurants.

We are busier than ever, and our customers are not solely vegans, but flexitarians looking to be more sustainable.

I think the trend for this year will be sustainability. Customers are demanding it, and businesses need to wake up to that.

Artists impression of Vegan and Carbon Negative bar Stem & Glory
Artists impression of Vegan and Carbon Negative bar Stem & Glory

People may be surprised to know that most wines, beers, and spirits use animal ingredients. Tell us about the process of creating a cruelty free drinks selection.

We are working with reputable partners and have an excellently curated drinks menu. Many local craft beer breweries are all over the vegan labelling now.

We work with brands that are mainly vegan, and scrutinise everything at source. We are also working with some really interesting English vineyards and they are also vegan.

It’s much easier to speak directly with people to get assurance on their vegan credentials.

Our suppliers ate very good in ensuring our products are verified vegan and it’s an increasing part of the overall market, so most suppliers are up to speed with this.

And finally, what’s your favourite cocktail?

I am a bit of a craft beer fan to be honest, one of our local breweries Duration who are located in Norfolk have some of the best beer I have ever drunk.

I did have my first ever espresso martini not so long ago on a very long awaited date night with my other half, and was very pleasantly surprised! I now know what all the fuss is about.

 

Stem & Glory’s new venue opens in April – you can find out more information here.

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