The Calyx hosts zero waste dinner


The Calyx, set in the heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, was the venue for an exclusive zero-waste dinner hosted by Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust’s Principal Environment Partner, HSBC Bank Australia.

The Calyx team including on-site event firm Laissez-faire Catering united with one of Australia’s leading sustainable chefs Matt Stone to curate the sustainably-sourced menu.

Under the theme ‘ZERO – where sustainability tastes better’, menu highlights included Cricket balls, made with a protein booster derived from crickets, and Gin and orange parfait with cultured butter where the whole fruit of the orange was used to match the zero-waste theme.

Sara Flaksbard, general manager at Laissez-faire Catering, said the creative recipes were highly planned to create minimal waste and a reduced footprint, with strategically sourced local and seasonal ingredients selected.

“Produce was requested to be organic or biodynamic with no single use plastic items being used (not even cling wrap) and any unused produce was recycled and used in the cooking process or composted to grow more ingredients,” she said.

“Food wastage is a big by-product of events, so we carefully planned the amount of food to match attendees, limiting supply to minimise the environmental impact.

“It was great to learn from a leading sustainable chef in this space and Matt has inspired our team to continue to push boundaries and try new ‘out-of-the-box’ sustainable cooking.”

Alpa Bhattacharjee, head of sustainability at HSBC Bank Australia, said their 25-year partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust has always focused on biodiversity conservation.

“We needed a venue that was flexible enough to showcase and deliver the zero-waste goals that we had set for the evening whilst providing an immersive and memorable experience,” said Bhattacharjee.

“The Calyx is a physical embodiment of what our partnership aims to deliver, and the team were able to translate this vision from start to finish.”

Elevating the environmentally themed event, The Calyx’s moveable floral displays and the green wall made up of over 18,000 plants immersed the guests. An organic style runner featured as the table centrepiece and included cabbages, pumpkins and radishes, which were donated to OzHarvest after the event, along with any leftover prepared food. Even the napkins were washable velvet to reduce the paper waste.

Denise Ora, chief executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, said reducing environmental impact has always been a key focus for the Gardens, and extends to The Calyx and the events it hosts.

“The Gardens’ critical research and conservation aims to protect Australian plant species for future generations and preserve biodiversity,” Ora said.

“Being able to work with chef Stone and provide an adaptive, innovative, and sustainable offering aligns with the Gardens’ vision to help create a society where people are motivated to recognise the importance of the natural environment in their lives and to support its conservation.

“We are thrilled with how this event came together.”

After the event, 16kg of produce was donated to OzHarvest and 2.5kg of waste was composted. The whole event was 99% zero food waste.