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26. July 2023, 4 min read

A Journey through Three Michelin Green Star Restaurants

Author: Birgitte Brøndum
Dish from Finnish Michelin Green Star restaurant, Nolla
Dish from Michelin Green Star restaurant Nolla in Finland.
Photo: Restaurant Nolla/Nikola Tomevski

As of July 2023, the Michelin Green Star, a symbol of sustainability, has been awarded to 456 restaurants worldwide. This leaf-coloured award recognizes restaurants that lead the way in sustainable practices. Join us on a tour of three of Europe’s Michelin Green Star Restaurants. Learn how they’ve become sustainability front-runners and read their advice to restaurants embarking on a journey down a greener path.

A Michelin Green Star recognizes restaurants that exemplify environmental and ethical commitments. These restaurants partner with local suppliers, and cook with ingredients derived from sustainable farming and foraging practices. In addition, they strive to minimize waste and reduce plastic use. Ultimately, a Michelin Green Star symbolizes the union of culinary excellence and environmental responsibility. In the sections below, we take a closer look at some of these restaurants and their sustainability efforts.

The Michelin Green Star restaurants that are lighting up the greener path

Nolla in Helsinki, Finland

Our journey starts in Finland, at a restaurant located in Helsinki, that embodies sustainability at its core. Nolla, which has held the Michelin Green Star honour since 2020, practices a zero-waste philosophy.

This approach is deeply ingrained in their operations. As co-founders Carlos Henriques and Albert Franch Sunyer state, “We use common sense to prevent waste which, over time, becomes a trend that everyone benefits from. It’s painful to see waste and neglect, and once it’s done, we can’t go back. It’s simply a mindset and, for us, now a daily routine.”

Since its opening in 2018, Nolla — the Finnish word for ‘zero’ — has operated without the use of plastic packaging, cling film, vacuum bags, and foil. Their commitment to zero waste is so strong that you won’t find a single trash bin in the restaurant. Rather, a composter resides in the dining room, processing waste which is later returned to its producers for use as a fertilizer. This effectively closes the loop on waste production and disposal.

Nolla hopes for a future where zero-waste practices become normalized.

“We hope that zero waste practices get so normalized that they become the standard of how all the restaurants work, instead of being an exception.”

Michelin Green Star restaurant, Nolla, Helsinki

Nolla, with its commitment to zero waste, sets a hopeful example for the global restaurant industry.

Restaurant Salt in Budapest, Hungary

Meet Salt Budapest, a Michelin Green Star holder known for its innovative approach to Hungarian cuisine. When asked about changes that have enhanced their sustainability efforts, the team at Salt chose to focus on a future initiative: operating an industrial composter.

“We aim to operate an industrial composter, which composts within 24 hours (not just plant waste, but anything organic – like trash bags made from corn starch), and the compost produced in this way could then be used in Salt’s small garden in Gödöllő,” they shared.

As for advice to restaurants embarking on their sustainability journey, Salt stresses the importance of reducing packaging material and implementing proper waste management.

“Use as little packaging material as possible and keep selective waste management in mind – these are the two core things to start with when planning!”

Michelin Green Star restaurant Salt in Budapest, Hungary

They also underscore the importance of planning the menu to include as many vegetable-based dishes as possible.

With these actions, Salt Budapest continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, thereby securing its place among the leading Michelin Green Star restaurants.

Dish from Hungarian Michelin Green Star Restaurant, Salt
Photo: Restaurant Salt

Molskroen in Ebeltoft, Denmark

Discover Molskroen, a Michelin Green Star holder nestled in Ebeltoft, Denmark. Known for blending traditional gastronomy with modern expressions, this restaurant has an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Molskroen emphasizes the role of local partnerships as a simple, yet impactful change in their sustainability practices.

When asked what easily implemented change has had the biggest impact on Molskroen’s sustainability, F&B Manager & Head Sommelier, Dennis Blok, was clear: their partnerships with local producers.

He said, “This must clearly be our closer and better cooperation with local producers. The incomparable difference was our cooperation with Helge, who became “our” farmer. We made a plan together for the year about what should be planted in the ground, what we would like, the size of the vegetables, etc. This was incredibly important and good for us.”

While Helge is no longer their partner, Molskroen now cooperates with Trustrup Gård, run by Simon and Isabel, continuing their efforts to work closely with local producers.

When asked about advice for restaurants embarking on their sustainability journey, Dennis advises taking it step-by-step.

“Do it step by step. Don’t make a total change from day 1. Take one thing at a time and do it properly before moving on to the next. If it is done half or partially, you will never reach 100% of the goal. Also, the most important thing of all… You need to have good partners on the journey!”

Dennis Blok, F&B Manager & Head Sommelier, Molskroen

Through its commitment to gradual, well-planned change and strong partnerships, Molskroen continues to set an example for sustainability in the restaurant industry.

Danish Michelin Green Star Restaurant, Molskroen
Photo: Molskroen

Europe is getting more sustainable restaurants

Nolla, Salt, and Molskroen are three impressive examples of Europe’s Michelin Green Star Restaurants. However, the continent is also home to a multitude of other sustainable restaurants, many of which are popping up as more people in the industry and diners alike develop a heightened sense of environmental awareness. We’re proud to count several of our clients among these green trendsetters.