Darren Procter - Executive Head Chef

What is your name? 
Darren Procter
What institution are you a student or staff member at?
 Sheffield Hallam University
What is your role at the institution?  
Executive Head Chef
What drives you to champion sustainability?
What’s the alternative?
What does an average day look like?
My days are very varied. Sometimes I’m supporting the chef’s team, or I may be working with a café team on their products. I meet with suppliers. I also work on long-term plans like staff engagement, our sustainable initiatives and our menu development.
What do you think are the most important things everyone in the UK can do to help contribute towards a more sustainable society?
Thinking about impact is the key, less waste, less meat. So many people are using Carbon without even thinking about it or caring about it.
What are your sustainability pet peeves?
It’s got to be the cynics and the climate change deniers.
What role do you think Universities and Colleges have in contributing towards sustainability?
The big impact is through education of the students. We can really deliver that message, and if you couple that with research, that’s applied even more impactfully.
What is one thing you wish you knew about sustainability when you were younger?
I sometimes feel we’ve passed the point of no return with our impact on the planet, so maybe us all understanding that 30 years earlier would have been a good thing.
Tell us something unusual about sustainability at your institution or organisation that other people might not know.
We were the first university to install a food bio digester, it turns all our reusable food waste to water. The micro-organisms work like our stomach and it can even process fish and chicken bones.
What opportunities and challenges have you experienced in your role in sustainability?
Budgets are always an issue, I’d love to provide only the highest welfare meat in our university but our price point is too low, we have to settle on Red Tractor as a minimum.
What do you hope sustainability in the UK looks like in 10 years’ time?
 I like the idea of sustainability being about sharing more, people really getting excited about reducing waste and their impact. Community projects thriving like food co-operatives and growing sites.
What are the benefits of EAUC membership?
I know it’s obvious but it’s the sharing knowledge and networking. If we worked in silos on sustainability we’d be going at a much slower pace.

For more information about Darren, who won 'Highly Commended' at the 2018 Green Gown Awards, please click here.

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