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12. September 2022, 4 min read

Restaurant Moment on sustainability

Author: Birgitte Brøndum
A plate of green vegetables and edible flowers at Restaurant Moment.
A plate of green vegetables and edible flowers at Restaurant Moment.
Photo: Restaurant Moment

Rikke and Morten Storm Overgaard are the owners and founders of sustainable and vegetarian Restaurant Moment. Their restaurant is situated in Mols Bjerge in Denmark by the entrance of the organic village Friland. In this interview, they share their thoughts on running a restaurant, conveying a deeper understanding of sustainability to guests, and what it means to receive a Michelin Green Star.      

For us, it is the only way we can run a restaurant and at the same time be true to ourselves — Rikke Storm Overgaard 

Living in accordance with nature 

That we as humans must live in accordance with nature, is an understanding that has been central to both Rikke and Morten as far back as they can remember.  

This means, according to them, that we shouldn’t use more resources than the Earth can generate and that there must be room for other species than humans.  

“We have probably since we both were children, found it difficult to see why humans must be as all-dominant as we are now,” Rikke says. 

Rikke and Morten explain that many factors played a role in their wish to open a sustainable restaurant. Naturally, they both had an interest in gastronomy, but that wasn’t all. Their project also involved the construction of the building, the establishment of a biodiverse garden, and now a farm that makes them self-sufficient. 

For them, the sustainable way is the only way to run a restaurant while being true to themselves. 

Conveying a deeper understanding of sustainability 

When asked whether eating at Restaurant Moment helps change guests’ perception of sustainable food, they answer yes and explain that they can clearly hear that from their guests. 

“The restaurant world receives a lot of interest and has much influence on people’s perception of what constitutes “the good life” and “good taste”. Therefore, the restaurant is also a kind of “stage” where there is time to convey a deeper understanding of sustainability than, for example, simply “everything is local,” Rikke explains. 

“It is not something we shove down the throats of our guests, but many will gain an increased understanding that – for example – a meal can leave a positive climate effect. We cannot afford to just go for the ambition to leave a “minimally negative footprint” – we must see food as a way to store CO2 in soil and increase biodiversity.” 

Restaurant Moment has no food waste  

At Moment they don’t waste any food. They tell us that everything from their production in the garden and field is used, most of it as food and the rest as compost. In the kitchen, all parts of a plant must be used, and any leftovers from guests’ plates and the small amounts of unused materials are composted and returned to the earth. 

Eigil from Restaurant Moment is harvesting carrots
Photo: Restaurant Moment

Restaurant Moment’s advice to other restaurants  

Not all restaurants are situated in an organic village, in the middle of diversity-rich nature landscapes. But Rikke and Morten believe there’s a lot you can do, even if your restaurant is in the middle of a big city.  

First up on their list is avoiding food waste by using everything and composting any small amount of leftover food. All waste should be sorted. 

In our world, what you choose to buy is just as decisive for how society develops as what you choose to vote for in a general election. — Rikke Storm Overgaard 

They also emphasize the importance of being critical of everything you buy. The salt you use, the rag you use to wipe down the tables, what your restaurant’s pension fund invests in and how the wine you serve is produced.

Their pension fund was surprised that they challenged them about how they spend the money they send to them. But to Rikke and Morten, it was surprising that nobody ever asked them about it. 

In an industry with a lot of confusion regarding sustainability, they found it challenging to handle their communication in a balanced way. 

Because, as Rikke explains, “It’s very important, to be honest about what you do. Not to claim that you use ‘sustainable ingredients’ and then only do it in one or two dishes. That would wash out the concept.” 

“Although we were aware that sustainability is a very complex topic, we are surprised by the amount of greenwashing and confusion in the industry,” she tells.  

Always trying to get better 

You should always try to spot what you don’t see to find out what you can do better. — Rikke Storm Overgaard 

In the last part of the philosophy section on Moment’s website, they’ve written the following paragraph: 

“We know that we are far from perfect. But we learn something new every day, and constantly update and change what we do – hoping to contribute just a little to create a more sustainable world.” 

When asked where they feel a need to improve, the short answer is, “all areas.” 

“One should never just settle”, Rikke says. You must always try to spot what you don’t see and find out what you can do better. For instance, our employees transport themselves to work every day (although we encourage carpooling). Even if we buy green electricity, we could perhaps be more energy efficient. There are many areas to address. “ 

A table in Restaurant Moment. The table is set with two wineglasses, napkins and a purple flower in a small glass vase.
Photo: Restaurant Moment

Receiving a Michelin Green Star 

Every year since 2020, Restaurant Moment has been awarded the Michelin Green Star. This annual award highlights restaurants that are leading in the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices.   

It means a lot to Rikke and Morten that a guide like the Michelin Guide has chosen to recognise sustainability efforts. In their opinion, anything that can help improve the association between quality and sustainability is positive.  

Nevertheless, when it comes to the Michelin Green Star assessment process, they feel there’s room for improvement.  

Overall, we are happy that the Michelin guide is going in that direction – we of course hope that the assessment methods will continue to be developed — Rikke & Morten Storm Overgaard, Restaurant Moment.   

“Unfortunately, it was “just” done with a questionnaire where you fill in your sustainability efforts. Perhaps it’s supplemented by communication with the guide when they are at the restaurant, but it’s difficult to know when they are anonymous.  

The problem with that method is that it is possible for a restaurant to “exaggerate” their efforts, and it will be difficult for the Michelin Guide to detect this,” Rikke shares.  “Overall,” she continues, “we are happy that the Michelin Guide is going in that direction – we of course hope that the assessment methods will continue to be developed.” 

We got the impression that Rikke and Morten could have gone on and on about sustainability and its multi-layered importance. We had to stop somewhere, but we feel wiser and inspired by their knowledge, efforts, and passion — we hope you do too!  

Read our other restaurant interviews, articles and guides right here.