Zest for life… as DGC hospitality facility gets Biosphere certification

Dumfries and Galloway College (DGC) is delighted to announce that its Zest restaurant on its Stranraer campus has been awarded the prestigious Biosphere Certification Mark.

As part of DGC’s Stranraer Campus, Zest falls within the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, a region recognised internationally for its world-class natural and cultural heritage. The GSA Biosphere Partnership leads sustainable development initiatives across the UNESCO area, which covers 9,720km² of southwest Scotland.

Zest is the training kitchen and restaurant run by DGC, which allows hospitality students to train in a professional kitchen environment and to develop the front-of-house and practical skills needed for a culinary career.

Students produce and serve a three-course menu each week — and as part of this, they must plan menus, using locally sourced produce where possible, prepare the dishes and then serve them in the restaurant.

Achieving the Biosphere Certification Mark is quite a coup for staff and students at Zest. Certification is gained through a rigorous assessment process which aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and awards are approved by a panel drawn from the Biosphere’s Partnership Board and Trustees.

Zest is accessible to the public on a regular basis throughout the term time and the teaching kitchen also offers courses to the public as well as businesses.

Staff and students throughout DGC are thrilled that Zest has been recognised by achieving the official Biosphere Certification Mark — which is awarded to exemplars in local sustainable enterprise and has been used as a model for similar schemes elsewhere in the UK.

Jake McLaughlan, Business Engagement Officer, GASB, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome Zest to our Biosphere Certification Mark business network and to celebrate the commitment of staff and students to sustainability.

“The UNESCO ethos is all about innovation and collaboration towards a better future for all, and we hope that DGC’s strong connection with the GSA UNESCO Biosphere will be a source of inspiration for students now and for years to come.”

Joanna Campbell, Principal, Dumfries and Galloway College, said: “In 2019, the College gained Proud Supporter status with GASB — and now, five years later, we are honoured that Zest has been awarded their Biosphere Certification Mark.

“DGC sees this as a further opportunity to build partnerships in the local community while highlighting the fantastic work that students and staff have been undertaking to help the region move towards a greener future.

“This recognition from Biosphere will no doubt further inspire our students at Zest to get the best from themselves in their hospitality careers.”