Towns hire ‘rubbish scouts’ to keep summer BBQs tidy

Towns and cities across Germany are tooling up for the summer, with many hiring extra staff to pounce on people sullying parks with barbecue rubbish.

Towns hire 'rubbish scouts' to keep summer BBQs tidy
Photo: DPA

It's a familiar sight in green spaces all over the Federal Republic: the morning after a particularly golden summer's evening, the grass is strewn with abandoned disposable barbecue trays, plastic cups and chicken bones.

Now town councils want to take on private security companies or even students to patrol their best-loved grilling spots and prod people into clearing up after themselves.

“We've noticed that it isn't enough to put out signs,” said Gerhard Bomhoff of the Werdersee Verein, which takes care of the lake of the same name near Bremen.

People enjoying the lake in the summer had been ignoring the barbecue area created by city authorities – so now four students have been hired to patrol the shore and give out information flyers and rubbish bags.

Meanwhile in Munich, 22 private security guards are now on patrol along the banks of the Isar river.

Rubbish piled around overflowing bins is a familiar sight in parks across Germany in summer. Photo: DPA

While they formerly only patrolled in the sunshine, they are now also deployed on rainy days as some die-hards were grilling under the city's bridges.

Munich faced a 150-tonne mountain of barbecue-related rubbish over summer 2015 – which cost the Bavarian capital some €5,000 per week to clean up.

Carrot or stick?

While the private security and students taken on in some cities can't hand out fines, other towns have ordered their police forces onto the case.

In Frankfurt, for example, police can slap messy party people with a €50 on-the-spot fine, as well as a bill for the cleanup.

Berlin has gone the other way, betting on providing large containers at popular barbecue spots like Mauerpark and the former airport at Tempelhof where people can get rid of their rubbish just metres away from designated grilling areas.

Many cities have also banned disposable barbecues and camp fires, as they leave unsightly burn marks on the grass.

But enterprising city politicians in Cologne and Düsseldorf have suggested a way to turn the barbecue problem into a money-making wheeze: installing electric grills at popular barbecue places that can be activated via a coin slot.

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Five of France’s new Michelin foodie hotspots

As Michelin publishes its 2022 guide, here are five of the most exciting new entries into the hallowed 'bible' of French gastronomy.

Five of France's new Michelin foodie hotspots

Here are five must-visit venues of gastronomic delight for food lovers.

READ ALSO New Michelin guide celebrates ‘resilient’ French cuisine

Plénitude – Paris

It’s only been open seven months, but the Paris restaurant – on the first floor of Cheval Blanc Paris – now has three stars, awarded to chef Arnaud Donckele in Cognac on Tuesday. Picking up three stars all at once is almost unheard of – only Yannick Alléno achieved the same feat in 2015 with the Pavillon Ledoyen in the 8th arrondissement.

Broths, vinaigrettes, creams, veloutés, juices are at the heart of the cuisine at Plénitude. A seasonal six-course Symphony Menu costs €395, while the Sail Away Together menu of three savoury dishes and one sweet is €320.

La Villa Madie – Cassis, Bouches-du-Rhône

Another new three-star venue listed in this year’s guide came as something of a surprise, by all accounts. Dimitri and Marielle Droisneau’s restaurant in the south of France overlooks the Mediterranean.

“We took this house nine years ago. We had a baby, we have a second one now. We live in the villa. We work in a paradise,” chef Dimitri said at the ceremony in Cognac.

The cuisine follows the seasons, and uses carefully selected local produce. As such, the menu changes daily according to what’s available. The Menu Anse de Corton – a starter, a fish course, a meat course, and a sweet treat – costs €130, while the six-course Menu Espasado “Cap Canaille” is €180.

Plaza Athénée – Paris

Top Chef series three winner Jean Imbert was one of a number of former contestants on the show to win a star for his restaurant in the palace le Plaza Athénée – with the jury praising his “impressive revival of the greatest classics of French gastronomy”.

Guillaume Pape – a finalist in series 10, also picked up his first star for  L’Ebrum, in Brest; as did series nine finalist Victor Mercier, for FIEF in the ninth arrondissement, honoured for producing “empowering cuisine, made exclusively using French produce”. Mercier was also named Young Chef of the Year.

The self-titled Menu de Jean at Plaza Athénée costs €296

Villa La Coste – Bouches-du-Rhône

Continuing the Top Chef theme, judge Hélène Darroze – who already runs the three-star Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London – was awarded a star for her restaurant in the south of France, as was fellow-judge Philippe Etchebest for his latest venture in Bordeaux.

Local vegetables and fruit are the stars of the dining show at Villa La Coste, with meat and fish playing an accompanying role. A three-course lunch menu is €75, while a full dinner menu is €155.

Domaine Riberach: La Coopérative – Bélesta, Ariège 

One of six new restaurants to be awarded a Green Star for its seasonal food and it’s determined approach to ‘sustainable gastronomy’. This year’s six Green Star winners join 81 establishments which received the award last year in France.

“Slow food” is the order of the day, with menus created based – as is often the case – on the seasons, the market and chef Julien Montassié’s instinct. The chief rule is that food must be local – “0 km is our motto”, boasts the website.

The six-course Menu Latitude is €85 without wine. A three-course Menu Km0 is €49 – and a children’s two-course menu is €18.