Did you know one-third of edible food produced globally is wasted every year? There is actually enough food waste in the foodservice industry in London alone to fill the Shard nearly 11 times.
The Crown estate wants this excess to change and therefore have pledged to reduce waste by 25% by 2020. With food waste pioneers such as Odd Box Wonky Veg, Brixton Pound Cafe and Gails’no-waste’ loaf, its a surprise it has taken London so long to catch up to the food waste game, but The Communications Store, Regent St, St James and The Crown Estate are finally here paving the way.
The chef kicked off the night saying that Stem is accidentally already reusing most of their food, whether its regrowing plants such as pea shoots, or vy making small changes such as dried fruit in cocktails and Stem is’delighted to be part of the pledge.’
We started the evening with rye lamb taco and coriander, created using offcuts of meat to ensure nothing is wasted as well as the sofa taco torilla made from re-purposed bread.
Secondly, beef tartare with dried tomato, enoki mushroom made by using the trim of preparing beef fillets, and served with marmite crackers molded from leftover sourdough bread soaked and blended into crisps.
Third dish – and my personal favourite – was in season asparagus with kohlrabi, peas and ricotta – the asparagus trimmings blended into puree, with actually the only waste in this dish being the kohlrabi skin which then is used in veg stock.
To finish, the most elegant rhubarb macadamia and crumble tart, using the trim of the tart cases as the crumble and the syrup from poaching the rhubarb is the base for the rhubarb sorbet.
For me, it was delightful thinking of a menu as a whole and ingredients across the dishes such as one egg used for a cured egg yolk in the starter and then the egg white set aside and also repurposed for meringue in the desert.
Perhaps not a new concept but a useful one, it has stayed with me personal cooking and I am grateful for the lesson.
To the pledge team and Stem, congratulations are due. I hope to see more of London striving towards less waste in 2020.
Participating pledges are Brasserie Zedel ,CafÃƒÂ© Murano ,Frescobaldi ,Hawksmoor Air Street ,Laurent at Hotel Cafe Royal, ikoyi, Ralph’s Coffee and Bar, Scully, Sketch, Stem and tibits.
You can follow social channels @RegentStreetW1 and @stjameslondon for updates for the pledge.