What happens when the word responsibility becomes your mantra? When every aspect of running a restaurant becomes a concious effort to do better on behalf of our environment. This is Amass in a nutshell. No matter what situation or scenario we find ourselves in, we are constantly asking ourselves: “Is this the most responsible way to approach this situation, and is this as delicious as we can possibly make it?” We refer to this mindset as “Responsible Deliciousness” and it fosters our culture and drives our creative process.
Instead of a quest for the perfectly shaped vegetable, it’s what we can do with the stems of kale or the miso we make out of our lemon skins. The so-called “by-products” that we produce and the processes we put them through are what drives our creativity. And because of this, we have been able to reduce our waste by 75%. But sustainability is more than the physical action of making miso from coffee grounds or nori from kale stems, it’s a frame of mind, and it has become an intricate part of our culture at Amass. So much so that we can’t imagine any other way of working.
Chef and Owner.
Amass Sustainability Practices
For us, sustainability is about doing what’s right for the environment. Since we opened in 2013, we’ve reduced our rubbish by more than 75% and our annual water consumption by 5,200 liters. It takes a bit of effort but the payoff is immense. Here’s how we do it, perhaps it will inspire you too.
- No Food Waste: We use every part of the ingredient, turning what others call ‘waste’ – such as vegetable and fruit skins and seeds, herb stems and even fish bones – into seasonings, misos or crisps, amongst other things.
- Compost: Whatever we can’t use in cooking, becomes compost for our garden and food for our worms. Some compost is made into ‘tea’ for a closed-loop (i.e. no added fertilizers, nutrients, water, or carbon) aquaponic farming system in our greenhouse.
- Biofuel: Anything that can’t be used in compost including frying oil and is turned into biodiesel and biogas.
- Recycling: We only work with purveyors who take back all paper bags, plastic packaging, styrofoam, and mesh bags to reuse. All glass and excess cardboard are recycled.
- Water: We save approximately 90 liters of clean water a day that would otherwise go down the drain by collecting partially full water bottles from the dining room and water used in various processes in the kitchen, using it to wash the floors or water the garden.
- Single-Use Plastics: We have significantly reduced our use of single-use plastic, by discontinuing the use of cling film and plastic garbage bags.
- Carbon Footprint and Life Cycle Assessment: San Francisco-based ZeroFoodprint and Copenhagen University have helped us track and significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
- Organics and Animal Welfare: 90-100 % of all our food and beverages are organic. But we don’t stop there: 95% of our produce is from Danish farmers or purveyors and the small amount of meat we serve comes from farms or butchers who prioritize ethical animal husbandry.
- Regenerative Agriculture: we donate 1% of the price of every menu to regenerative agriculture projects via Zero Foodprint Nordic.
- Low Impact Fishing: We only source fish caught using responsible and low intervention fishing methods – line-caught, gill or seine nets and we do not use any farmed fish.
- Community Outreach: Since 2015 we’ve worked with Grace KBH, a shelter for Copenhagen’s homeless population, to provide its users with hot nutritious meals during fall and winter.
- Sustainability Acknowledgements: Amass received Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2017 by The White Guide and received the 1st prize from the 2019 and 2020 360° Eat Guide; a restaurant guide focusing equally on sustainability and gastronomy. In 2021 Matt Orlando received the Ethical & Sustainability Award from La Liste.
Amass Green Kids Program
THAT’S WHERE PEAS COME FROM…
‘We were picking peas and I picked a pea pod and this kid goes, ‘what’s that?’ I opened it up and said, ‘these are peas’, and his eyes are like, ‘that’s where peas come from’. He’d only seen frozen peas in a bag.’
– Matt Orlando –
We started the Amass Green Kids program to teach city kids from Copenhagen schools about the wonders of plant life and the pleasures of growing and eating good food. The kids have three sessions, the first two in our urban garden where they plant and tend their own vegetables along the way learning about the carbon cycle, composting and why we waste so little of what we grow. In the final session, they join Amass chefs in the kitchen to cook and eat delicious food made from the produce they grew themselves. By having fun and literally getting their hands dirty we hope they will be inspired to think differently about what they eat. It’s our gift to the next generation – a chance to understand how good food and caring for the planet go hand in hand.