Gordon Ramsay Group were thrilled and proud to take part in wastED London, the thought-provoking food waste pop-up restaurant, located on the roof of Selfridges Oxford Street.
Originally conceived by acclaimed New York Chef restaurateur Dan Barber, wastED is a community of Chefs, farmers, fishermen, distributors, processors, designers and retailers, working together to inspire new applications into our food system.
For one night only, our founder Gordon Ramsay partnered with Clare Smyth and hosted a night as guest Chefs, serving a dish ‘Keeping it Veal’ – which highlighted bi-products of the dairy industry. Gordon and Clare used veal farce wrapped in charred green leek tops, with vegetable peeling crisps, accompanied with a unique take on 17th century English condiment, Pontack, created using reduced whey, spices and aromats, and left over corked wine as a vinegar.
We can all play a part in reducing food waste, by reconceiving ingredients and creating homemade waste-based dishes. To give you a helping hand, we have gathered some hints and tips from our talented Chefs, on how to minimise food waste at home.
Getting the most from...vegetables
Potato skins, apple peel – most people would pop these straight in the bin or composter without thinking. But as Erion Karaj, Executive Head Chef of our international group of Bread Street Kitchen restaurants, reveals: these trimmings have serious gourmet potential.
‘Instead of throwing away your potato peelings, try frying them in vegetable oil until crispy,’ he says. ‘Drain them then season with your favourite spices and serve with aioli.’
When you have apple or quince peelings, put them in a saucepan with some sugar and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has the consistency of syrup. Strain, then drizzle the syrup over dishes such as slow-roast pork belly.
Alternatively, dehydrate the apple peel and whizz it in a food processor. ‘You can then sprinkle the fruity zest over sweet or savoury dishes,’ says Erion. ‘We dust our famous pork belly with this, too.’
Getting the most from...cheese
Don’t throw away the rind when you’ve finished a hunk of parmesan cheese, says Davide Degiovanni of Union Street Café, our Italian restaurant in Southwark.
Instead, cut them into half-inch pieces. Sit them on a sheet of greaseproof paper and cook them on high in a microwave oven. They will puff and turn crispy, making a delicious alternative to grissini and crudités when you’re serving dips.
‘Don’t forget,’ says Davide, ‘you can store cheese rinds in the freezer and cook them altogether when you are ready.’
At Heddon Street Kitchen, the Chefs put scraps of cheese and rind to work in the rich cheese sauce used to make their signature macaroni cheese. They then finish the dish with breadcrumbs made by blitzing dry brioche and burger buns.
Getting the most from...stale bread.
There are many delicious ways to ensure you get full value from a loaf of bread in your own kitchen, it’s been estimated that 44% of all bread produced in the UK is thrown away. With that in mind, Owen Sullivan, Executive Chef of maze restaurants, recommends Toast Ale, terrific beers produced from bakeries’ surplus bread and the heel ends of loaves used by sandwich manufacturers. Profits go to support anti-food waste charity Feedback.
Owen suggests you make breadcrumbs by grating about 200g stale bread, then frying with a knob of butter and a clove of crushed garlic. Once they crumbs are golden, add 100g of grated parmesan cheese and cook until crisp. Cool quickly then sprinkle the mixture on pasta dishes or salads for a lovely cheesy crunch.
Alternatively, make a quick salad from halved cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Cut your stale bread into cubes and toast them. Toss these hot croutons into the dressed tomatoes so that they absorb the juice, then finish with some finely sliced red onion and a handful of rocket.
Of course the classic bread and butter pudding was a traditional dish invented for the purpose of using up scraps! Stockpile your stale bread in the freezer and you’ll soon have enough for London House Head Chef Will Stanyer’s luxurious version.
For more inspiring ideas on on how to get the most from your ingredients, check out our Grapevine blog recipe pages. There, you’ll find recipes for things such as sweetcorn fritters and arancini, both of which are easily adapted to creating something delicious out of ignored or un-coveted ingredients.
Fancy listening to Gordon and Clare's wastED playlist to fuel your creativity and passion in the kitchen? Spotify and Sonos together with wastED London, have curated wastED Tracks, a series of interactive playlists - listen to Gordon and Clare's playlist here.