KOCHI: In the kitchen of Moozhikkulam Sala Jaiva Campus at Chengamanad, aviyal, mulakushyam, payasam and other traditional Kerala dishes form a rich, tempting spread. However, there is something noticeably different about the dishes. While institutions and organisations around the world are doing all they can to become carbon neutral, by cutting out activities that increases carbon footprint and reducing plastic usage, not many think of starting from their kitchen. This is what Moozhikkulam is trying to establish.
Our kitchen became carbon neutral in the second week of September and has been doing good,” said T R Prem Kumar, director, Moozhikkulam Sala Jaiva Campus. But how do you become a carbon-neutral kitchen? According to Prem Kumar, a carbon-neutral kitchen is one which doesn’t have any stoves. “Burning fuel—both wood and gas—releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This, in turn, contributes to global warming,” he said. So, he decided to do away with the stoves and serve food in its natural form.
“We serve raw food to our customers,” he said. “There is no heat or fire involved. But, from the response that we have received, it can be understood that uncooked food is not just tasty, but also healthy,” he said. The kitchen at Moozhikkulam Sala serves food twice a day. “The first service begins at 11am and the second at 6pm,” he said.
“The first thought that people have when you say ‘raw food’ is salads or juices. But you will be surprised to know that we have a full main course menu that includes traditional curries like thoran, chammanthi and payasam,” said Prem Kumar who is the chef, manager and proprietor of the carbon-neutral kitchen.
“Just like traditional hotels, our menu changes every day,” he added. According to him, there are plenty of health benefits to eating raw uncooked food. “The vegetables and fruits don’t lose their nutrient content from being overcooked. Food also tastes better in its natural form,” said Prem Kumar.
According to him, another speciality of the kitchen is that it produces less waste. “Since we use every part of vegetables and fruits for the dishes, there is no more waste. Also, since the food is prepared as per orders, we manage to prevent any leftovers and wastage,” said Prem Kumar.
And if any waste gets generated, it is buried underground. “When waste is left in the open, it starts to decay and this leads to the production of greenhouse gases like methane. So, by burying the waste, we effectively cut off the emission of greenhouse gases and get natural manure in return,” he said. Each meal costs `100. “We get a good number of customers for lunch, while it may differ during dinner hours,” he said.