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Off-grid in Marseille, Le Présage is Europe's first solar-powered restaurant

A restaurant that cooks without gas, wood or electricity? In southern France, Le Présage is harvesting the sun's energy for 'cuisine solaire.' The restaurant, which had a soft launch in August 2020 and reopened at a new location in April of this year, uses solar ovens and a Scheffler mirror — a large, parabolic dish that reflects and concentrates the sun's rays to heat a stove to 400 °C. The kitchen's water is heated by the sun, too.

Plated food at Le Présage

Le Présage's current incarnation, which serves find food from a shipping container to guests seated under a tarp, is an appetizer for the actual restaurant that its owners will start building later this year. The permanent restaurant will include a biogas installation to turn the site's own organic waste into gas, enabling chefs to cook on cloudy days and after sunset. Biogas residues can then be used to fertilize a garden that's meant to supply a quarter of the restaurant's vegetables.

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Sustainability in the hospitality industry is complex, involving at least as many decisions as need to be made by individual households, while dealing with thin margins and demanding guests. But turning to innovative solutions like harnessing the sun's energy and cooking emission-free is a powerful way to connect with consumers. And work towards — as Le Présage puts it — a #FuturDélicieux.

Innovation of the day