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A Chef's Plot Thickens - The Washington Post

October 22, 2008

Featured in The Washington Post
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Chef's Plot Thickens
By: Jane Black

In the garden behind Restaurant Eve, chef Cathal Armstrong is growing staples for his fall menu: acorn squash, lentils, celery root and Brussels sprouts. He had hoped to have parsnips, too. But though he planted seeds for the wintry root vegetables, up sprouted a jungle of something else entirely. "We used the compost on the parsnip bed, and we got tomatoes instead," says Armstrong. "We're learning as we go."

The garden is just one of Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's efforts to go green at the four-star Eve and across their growing restaurant empire in Alexandria, which includes the Majestic, fish and chips shop Eamonn's and cocktail bar PX. The kitchen at Eve composts about 50 percent of its waste. A small wormery the size of a milk crate produces enough organic fertilizer for the entire garden. Armstrong has banned bottled water and tinted the skylights in the restaurant, a move that cut his monthly electricity bill by 88 percent, from $2,887 in September 2007 to $342 last month. "Cathal has always been more of the 'I do it because it's right' guy, " says Meshelle. "I do it because I can see the financial gain in it. I think that's why we work well together." click here to view the full article.