Chef/owner Soerke Peters and business partner Denis Boaro of Basil have a great reason to pop the cork on a domestic sparkler or two today. They just received word that Basil earned a coveted two-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association. After nearly a year of hard work and partnerships with vendors like Eco Carmel, Peters and Boaro have managed to document sustainable and eco-friendly practices required by the independent certification agency. Everything from food service to furnishings was examined, as well as water management and recycling.
“Green can mean a lot of different things to different people, but we are the only national standards organization that deals exclusively with the restaurant industry,” said CEO Michael Oshman of the Green Restaurant Association. “Consumers can be assured that a GRA certified restaurant meets objective standards that are verified by our specialized experts.”
Basil is the first restaurant in the Monterey Bay Area to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association, which counts about 500 certifications nationwide and 300 more in progress—two in Silicon Valley.
Boaro was elated that the months of hard work and investments in meeting the association’s tough standards have paid off. “I’m definitely excited, “ he exclaimed, “We just got certified and there’s more green stuff we’re going to do!”
In fact, that’s one of the requirements—the restaurant must not only maintain its initial efforts at sustainability, it must continually improve on them. Boaro is also hoping that other local restaurants will follow suit and brave the process, which he views as an investment in the health of the local environment.
The daunting 21 pages of certification standards require a restaurant to address everything from the duct sealing and weather stripping to the flow of water in the sinks. Food must also meet exacting standards both in terms of how it is grown/raised and how far it travels. Basil has gone the additional step of purchasing only domestic beer, to further reduce its carbon footprint.
Peters and Boaro are justifiably proud of their achievement and glad to be able to contribute to the health of the planet. Moreover, since Peters’ childhood in Germany, he’s always found that the best food comes when you buy fresh ingredients close to home and then don’t fool around with them too much. His menu, which boasts local calamari, abalone and seasonal vegetables, is not only sustainable, but delicious. With its charming courtyard setting, friendly service and great food, Basil is one of those great places where you can eat well and do good all at the same time.
Several dozen restaurants in Santa Cruz County and 19 restaurants in Monterey County, for example Passionfish, are certified by the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program, but the Green Restaurant Association’s Oshman said that Basil is the only Monterey Bay Area restaurant to pursue national certification through his organization.