How New Burger Joint Carne Aims to Make the World Better One Meal at a Time
While it is certainly not the first time a renowned chef has invested in the popularity of a well-made burger, Carne is one of the few brands built on its commitment to respecting the pillars of sustainable gastronomy.
If you’ve not yet heard about it, don’t fret. Established in 2015 by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco of three-Michelin-starred restaurant Mirazur in France (ranked at the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list), the burger brand, in collaboration with the Il Lido Group, is slated to make its international debut in Singapore on February 25.
Carne’s first outlet and headquarters (launched in 2016) is located in Colagreco’s hometown of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. There have since been several openings across the country (including two more dine-in stores in Buenos Aires and another in Mendoza), but more significantly, in 2019 it became the first burger chain in the world to be classified a certified B Corporation. This essentially acknowledges the business’ social, environmental and economic contribution to doing better for the world. In short, the positive impact on its staff, community, environment, and customers.
“We believe that everyone can eat healthily and deliciously, while acting responsibly for the planet,” Colagreco tells Tatler Dining Singapore, noting as well how the idea was born from a conviction that this could be best realised across a larger number of consumers with something as simple and accessible as a hamburger.
He adds: “As a B Corporation, we work to offer the highest quality products from local producers who champion sustainable production of food, and we’re committed to being an important voice of and for communities.”
The outlet in Argentina, for example, doesn’t use fresh tomatoes during the winter season, as there are no fresh organic tomatoes available locally. Instead, they use jarred tomatoes, which he stresses are free of chemicals and preservatives, prepared for them at the end of the summer by non-profit organisation The Association of Landless Farmers (Union de Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra). “Also, we use vegetable straws (made by The Workers Cooperative of Native People) that are reusable, biodegradable, employ farmers and generate roots in towns with few employment opportunities,” he expounds.
In keeping with the brand’s ethos, the meats for their burgers are also responsibly sourced, featuring only grass-fed animals; even the bacon is made with growth hormone-free pork. Their vegetables are organic, and only eggs from cage-free farms are used. “The bread and most of our cheeses are artisanal because we (want to) promote the continuity of the trades,” Colagreco continues. In fact, when they do get to use fresh tomatoes, these are likely from their harvests of more than 25 organic varieties—cultivated using royalty-free seeds to protect biodiversity and food sovereignty.
Sourcing locally not only supports the development of communities but it also helps reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Located on Amoy Street, Carne’s Singapore outpost will continue this commitment. “When it comes to the food and beverage programme, we are working with local and/or organic farms and producers with strong sustainable missions, such as Sustenir Agriculture and Zen Xin for the fresh vegetables, and local craft beer breweries the likes of Off Day Beer and Crust,” shares Il Lido Group’s chef-restauranteur Beppe de Vito, who confirmed that Carne Singapore is the first of many exciting collaborations with the group.
Colagreco added how it was crucial to find a partner who shares and defends the same values, “in a city that would allow us to successfully present the project in Asia”. So, he reached out to industry veteran and personal friend De Vito.
The outlet will similarly be using local, cage-free eggs, while the brioche buns will be made by a local baker. Free-range, grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken, De Vito adds, are their choice of meats. And, to boot, even the serving ware will be either compostable, made from recycled materials, made locally or by a local brand. “For example, the hand soaps we will offer for guests are made of natural soap flakes from an independent maker,” De Vito reveals. “These soap flakes are made out of excess coconuts, and don’t harm the waterways with toxins.
“We are also making food education and food security our mission here in Singapore; for a start, 10 per cent of sales from our merchandise range will go to supporting Food From The Heart’s Project Belanja initiative, with plans to roll out more initiatives in time to come,” he affirms.
This approach reflects a noble but necessary change to the way we choose to dine out.
But as Colagreco so eloquently puts it, “Every time you eat, you decide the world you want to live in.”
One of the stars of the recently confirmed menu is the hearty Complete Burger ($28) that pairs a succulent beef patty with crispy smoked bacon, an egg (over-easy), cheddar cheese, local oak lettuce, organic tomato, red onion and pickled cucumber. There's also a Veggie Burger ($16) that comprises grilled portobello, charred halloumi cheese, local oak lettuce and tomato tapenade.
The two burgers specially created for Singapore include the Beef and Chimichurri Burger ($24), featuring a house-blend chimichurri sauce in a nod to the brand's Argentinian roots, and the Crispy Chicken Burger ($18), which combines a locally-sourced, GMO-free poussin chicken thigh with fresh green cabbage, chilli pickled organic cucumber and organic greek yogurt dressing.The are made of Agria potatoes using a special thrice-cooked technique proprietary to Carne, while the mustard and ketchup are organic and housemade.
Complementing these are hand-blended milkshakes, made with preservative-free house-made ice cream. Even the coffee and organic teas are from fair-trade sources, while the list beers boasts a growing line-up of local craft beers, the likes of Trouble Brewing, Brewlander and Crust Brewing.
Carne Singapore is located at 88 Amoy Street Singapore 069907.