Ickworth: Two-star sustainability rating for the West Wing

THE West Wing restaurant at Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds, has received recognition from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).

The SRA sustainbility star rating recognises restaurants and venues as Sustainability Champions, with one star representing “good”, two stars “excellent” and three stars “exceptional”.

Following an assessment covering produce sourcing, social initiatives and the environment, the West Wing at Ickworth has been named as a two star Sustainability Champion.

The SRA judges were impressed across the three judging criteria with particular commendation for the social impact of the catering operation.

Their report identified “excellent training opportunities” for staff and praised the free healthy meal that is offered to staff for each shift.

Amongst additional aspects the SRA noted strong engagement with customers over the provenance of ingredients, the ability to cater for customers’ dietary requirements and the work with King Edward VI school to create an area in the restaurant where students can display their artwork.

The SRA’s evaluation of the West Wing in the sourcing category showed a dedicated approach to using fruit, vegetables and foraged ingredients grown on the estate combined with a UK focus in sourcing meat, milk, eggs and cheese.

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In the final category, which covered the venue’s approach to the environment, the West Wing was commended for initiatives including the composting of raw food and coffee grounds for use in the estate gardens.

Sodexo Prestige provides all catering and hospitality services at the West Wing at Ickworth, which is a National Trust property. As well as a seven day a week visitor restaurant the venue is a popular choice for weddings, conferences and other functions.

Sean Loftus, general manager at the West Wing, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first restaurant in Suffolk to have gained the SRA accreditation.

“Our team at the West Wing have worked tirelessly to source local produce, improve ways how we can reduce our environmental impact as well as ensuring that we are looking after our staff and customers; the two star Sustainability Champion award is recognition of that.

“There is always room for improvement though and over the next 12 months we will look to certain areas, particularly our energy consumption. We hope more restaurants follow our lead in Suffolk and support the SRA in their efforts to improve the image of catering as we know our customers approve of the steps we have taken.”

Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: “The West Wing at Ickworth has demonstrated a genuine commitment to operating in a very sustainable way.

“This is not only good for society and the environment, but also for business as 70% of consumers say they would prefer to eat a sustainable restaurant. We hope that other Suffolk restaurant will follow West Wing’s impressive lead.”