Don’t waste food – everybody can manage it better…
In a crowded train on the way home I was scanning my cramped environment when I noticed in a fellow commuter’s Evening Standard a headline containing the word ‘broccoli’. It’s not everyday that broccoli hits the headlines:
‘Broccoli going yellow? Stick it in a soup’
The article was by Simon Rogan, a two-starred Michelin Chef who has joined the Evening Standard’s campaign against food waste in the capital. Simon was a good catch for an article on the subject; his high-end restaurants waste very little food. This prudent approach to cooking might be a natural outcome of working to tight profit margins, but in fact, Simon says it’s a common characteristic among most quality restaurants, where ‘nose-to-tail’ and ‘all-parts-of-a-plant’ cooking are prerequisite skills for an aspiring chef. So we should not blame chefs for food waste.
The chief culprits are the supermarkets, where food is wasted at source because it is assumed that customers will only buy food that is presented without imperfections. Further down the chain there will be vast wastage as food passes its ‘sell-by’ date. The thought that food is either left to rot, put into landfill or turned to bio fuel on such a grand scale is hard to reconcile. Pret a Manger says that 88% of their unsold sandwiches are donated to charities – but how can we know how much food is actually wasted in the industry? Unfortunately, most of this data is unavailable. Glancing through the campaign articles we can see why, food waste is a highly complex, sensitive and political issue.
The Evening Standard’s campaign is therefore a welcome and useful way to help raise awareness and explore ways that we can fight the problem. A good starting point is to take responsibility for our own food management. I am a stickler for good food management, but despite my best efforts, I will often find myself with the odd yellowing broccoli head. Simon is right. I might have thrown it out in the past, but for this recipe I took his advice and stuck it in a soup. It was delicious.