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Chef Arthur Potts Dawson: changing the world one sustainable restaurant at a time

His London restaurants employ composting, a wormery, and a dehydrator to reduce waste. His next goal: a restaurant that actually takes in carbon and releases oxygen.

By Jadda MillerNourishing the Planet / September 26, 2011

British chef Arthur Potts-Dawson founded Acorn House, London’s first truly environmentally sustainable restaurant.

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British chef, restaurateur, and author Arthur Potts Dawson is passionate about the planet, good food, eating well, and making the most of what’s fresh, local, and seasonal.

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Mr. Dawson has been cooking for 25 years. He’s been a chef for Jamie Oliver at Fifteen, the Soho House Group at Cecconi’s, Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray at the River Cafe, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage HQ.

Dawson now works with the Shoreditch Trust, a charitable organization working to address the causes of disadvantage in the most deprived areas of Shoreditch, London.

With the Trust, Dawson founded Acorn House, London’s first truly environmentally sustainable restaurant and Water House, a restaurant offering delicious seasonal food and a firm commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. He published the Acorn House Cookbook in 2008, which shows its readers how to prepare “good food from field to fork.”

Dawson is the founder of The People’s Supermarket, a sustainable food cooperative that responds to the needs of the local community in London and provides healthy, local food at reasonable prices. He has also given informative speeches on his methods of creating sustainable restaurants on TED Talks.

Who influenced you to become an eco-friendly chef?

I was trained by great people who definitely inspired me, but I think it was actually when I began to open my own restaurants that I realized being economical and ecological helped save money and energy and also benefited the environment. It was by becoming a business owner that becoming green came so naturally.

For how long have you been practicing sustainability habits?

I have been practicing these methods since I opened my first restaurant in 2006. It is hard to be sustainable when you are working in someone else’s kitchen because perhaps they don’t want to take time to recycle rubbish, compost, or buy organic.

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