In Depth

Five London restaurants tackling food waste

These eateries are all trying to solve the mounting problem in the capital's hospitality industry

Food waste in the hospitality sector is at a record high with 600,000 tonnes of food thrown away by the industry in the UK each year.

One company spearheading the attempt to tackle the problem is Rubies in the Rubble.

The brand, which makes gourmet condiments with a conscience, was started by Jenny Costa in London, and she told The Week Portfolio: “Food waste in restaurants is hard to avoid without careful planning and forecasting”.

“We work with so many great restaurants across the capital keen to eliminate unnecessary waste in their restaurants as well throughout their supply chain by ensuring they source ingredients sustainability”, she added.

“This occurs by buying fresh goods locally and in season where possible (to utilise natures gluts) and sourcing from sustainable brands such as ourselves in providing their condiments.”

Here are some restaurants in the capital doing their bit to tackle the problem of food waste.

Pied à Terre

This Michelin-starred restaurant uses Indie Ecology a company that travels across London collecting each restaurant's food waste on a regular basis. They then convert this waste to compost, and deliver fresh, organic vegetables grown from the compost.

The premise is simple, and for a restaurant like Pied à Terre it offers a way to reduce food waste and grow new produce. Indie Ecology uses a system known as the Bokashi method to decompose the waste which is then mixed with microorganisms and molasses, this mixture stops smells and helps decomposition.

Every dish is meticulously constructed with new and interesting takes on modern French fare all served up in a discreetly decorated dining room.

Pied à Terre, 34 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2NH

Fresh Thinking Pop-Up Cafe

This new two-day pop-up venture from Jamie Oliver and Hotpoint will be serving surplus food from the local area in Bethnal Green and will operate on a pay-as-you-feel basis, with all proceeds going to charity FoodCycle.

Every dish on the Fresh Thinking Café menu is based on suggestions from the public, and the tasting menu features a variety of imaginative dishes incorporating bread, bagged salad and fresh veg - just some of the UK's most wasted foods.

Fresh Thinking Café will open at 133–135 Bethnal Green Road, on Weds 10 and Thurs 11 October 

Cub

This restaurant’s tables in Hoxton are crafted from recycled yoghurt pots and the air inside the venue is filtered through the breathable clay used to construct the walls.

Cub champions waste reduction through a no-choice set-menu, that changes on a regular basis.

Even the sustainability of the work is factored in, “which is a rarity in the hospitality industry”, says the London Evening Standard. The restaurant is so preparation intensive it’s only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights so the chefs get a full two days off work.

Cub 153 Hoxton St, Hoxton, London N1 6PJ

Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge

Riverford, best known for its organic food deliveries, has also previously hosted pop-up restaurant events, as well as running its own Riverford Field Kitchen at its farm in Devon.

But more recently it’s settled down to partner The Duke Of Cambridge in Islington. The trendy spot is a certified organic pub that serves up all kinds of seasonal treats thanks to head chef Benoit Berenger with food coming straight from the Devon farm. All the food waste is then collected to generate energy.

Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge, 30 St Peter's St, London N1 8JT

Mac and Wild

This Fitzrovia outfit celebrating Highland hospitality and the best of Scotland’s produce has a key focus on sustainability. As part of that focus the restaurant has begun offering Rubies in the Rubble's brand new Tomato Ketchup inspired by home-cooked family recipes, where flavour is of the utmost importance.

In the new recipe, Rubies has used surplus tomatoes and apples that would have otherwise gone to waste. Mac and Wild founder Andy Waugh says of the decision to take on the ketchup: “I am a loyal Heinz fan - until very recently I believed that tomato ketchup wasn’t ketchup unless it’s Heinz. However, I’ve tasted the future and it’s Rubies in the Rubble! I did a blind tasting and preferred Rubies in the Rubble. I couldn’t believe it!”

Mac and Wild, 65 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7PS

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