Trio brings eco-friendly dining to Zamalek

Trio is an environmentally friendly restaurant in the heart of Zamalek, the hub of new eateries and clubs. The “green” eatery, due to open next week, will offer Cairo a taste of California.

“This trendy, urban restaurant will offer a new take on Californian food, using local ingredients without sacrificing quality,” says Jane Hernandez, Trio’s executive chef. Californian food has a lot of Mediterranean and Asian influences while Egyptian food, according to Hernandez, is influenced by Thai and Greek gastronomies, coupled with Mediterranean flavors.

“We try as much as we can to keep the ingredients as local as possible but when the quality is put at risk, we rely on imported goods,” explains Hernandez.

According to the chef, the portions will be generous and healthy. There will be minimal fried food on the menu, and most items will be cooked on a charcoal grill or sautéed with olive oil. The menu is expected to include about 50 items — sandwiches, salads and main dishes — in addition to the grill section with various types of steak and homemade sauces.

“We are not trying to certify ourselves as a green restaurant but we are trying to practice healthier and more conscious cuisine and have recycling and composting as second nature for our chefs and kitchen staff,” Hernandez says.

When Chef Hernandez arrived to Cairo two years ago as a consulting chef, at a time when there were few environmentally friendly businesses, she vowed that her next job would take the environment into consideration. Born in Los Angeles, Hernandez worked as a chef in San Francisco for 12 years before coming to Egypt.

“With the revolution going on, people are becoming more open to new concepts,” explains Hernandez. She consults with Nawaya, an environmental group that helps her recycle aluminum, glass and plastic waste.

“In the kitchen, we separate solid waste from organic waste, and the latter is given to the staff members to feed their chickens,” states the chef. Trio also works with Egypt Youth Manara, a recycling business. “They are buying our aluminum waste, and the money generated by the plastic and glass waste goes to a charity project in Fayoum for unprivileged families.”

“Waste is collected on a weekly basis, although it may be more often depending on how busy the restaurant is,” she says.

For packaging, Trio uses recycled containers that are mostly imported. The restaurant also has eco-friendly games for children. “Green World Egypt's games are provided for the children as a way to promote green thinking and to support Green Egypt's efforts in educating youth about this important matter,” Hernandez says.

Trio deals with farms that have cleaner and more conscious farming practices like Makkar Farms. “We are sourcing from Makkar farms and Isis and we cooperate with some local farmers for certain items,” the chef explains.

Nawaya has helped Hernandez find fresh local products both in Cairo and outside of the city, all the way to the Sinai. “We are also beginning to work with a private cattle and poultry farmer who will be supplying us exclusively, and they are located in the upper Delta area,” she says.

According to Hernandez, an eco-friendly eatery will be successful as long as the concept is communicated well to the clients. “Cairo is always ready for the new and upcoming,” she says. Already other neighboring businesses in Zamalek are recycling, like the Longchamp Hotel and Amici Bar, she adds.

Because Hernandez imports certain products, such as the recycled packaging, and is particular about using organic, locally produced food, “the high cost of quality may reflect itself in the pricing,” she explains.

Trio; 18 B Marashly St., Zamalek, Cairo

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