"This bacon has been intensively reared and sold in supermarkets". It didn't sound that tasty, and we weren't that keen to try it. On the other hand, organic eggs from hand-reared hens on a Suffolk farm sounded much better, and tasted just as good as we hoped. But at the launch of a brand new initiative by the Sustainable Restaurant Association this week, nothing was quite as it seemed. It was all part of a research project which has shown that diners enjoy their food far more if they know it's ethically and sustainably sourced.
Now, one of the country's leading chefs, Raymond Blanc, is heading a new campaign by the SRA - Food Made Good - which will inform restaurant customers where their food comes from, as well as how well staff are treated. The idea is to get diners and chefs to make pledges by writing them on a napkin, which they can then post on social media, using the hashtag #makefoodgood.
The campaign has already got some top names on board, like Wahaca's Thomasina Miers, who has come up with this promise: "I pledge to always ask for a doggy bag if there is food leftover on our plates." There's one from Richard H Turner: "I pledge to buy sustainable and ethically farmed produce both at home and in all of the restaurants I am involved in." While Raymond Blanc himself has commited himself to spreading the localist word: "I pledge to tell all my chef friends to choose their ingredients grown as close to their restaurant as possible."
The campaign, along with a brand new website including recipes, events and special offers, was formally launched by Raymond Blanc at the Abergavenny food festival this weekend, and venues which take part will be awarded one, two or three star ratings. In the meantime, there are plenty of pledges to dream up - from where your fish comes from, to whether waiting staff get the full service charge. "Food has a story", says the SRA, "and it's only right that you should want to hear it."