Wasteless Suppers

With Lia's Kitchen

Creating incredible feasts from food destined for the bin.

Wasteless created a collaborative platform where many local food businesses worked together to deliver a pop-up feast using 261kg food that would otherwise have been wasted.
After several years of working together on food waste reduction projects through community cook ups with food destined for the bin, roadshows, school lunch clubs and pop up street food stalls, Green Squirrel and Lia’s Kitchen wanted to set up a platform that helps local businesses tap into their creative and sustainable practices and to showcase elements of Cardiff’s existing and emerging ‘wasteless’ food movement. In addition we wanted to inspire our guests to challenge their perceptions of ‘food waste’ and see what could be created with food they might often throw away. We hosted a series of three Wasteless Suppers between October 2017 and March 2018. 
 
Recruiting food businesses to join Wasteless was an exciting but nerve racking process. We knew that we were asking a lot of these businesses, to leave their own restaurants at peak times, meet to discuss our food collection/ distribution systems and create dishes from food surplus within 24 hours of the event. However, as the news of Wasteless spread more and more businesses were keen to get on board and work with us on such a unique event. They could also see the benefits to their own businesses in terms of sharing best practices, making connections and good promotion.
 
 

The food businesses that joined Wasteless represent a range of independent food businesses across Cardiff; some with award winning restaurants and cafes, some caterers and food producers, a bake off finalist, a Bake off crème da la crème team and some working from their kitchens at home.

 

Wasteless also aimed to bring crowds to the table that might not have attended the types of food waste events we have run in the past, such as roadshows and community cook ups, and we welcomed everyone to our table for Wasteless. Our guests included dinner ladies, food bloggers, a University sustainability manager, the leader of Cardiff Council, Food Cardiff, the head of Natural Resources Wales, local chefs, food producers, freelancers, Sainsburys staff and journalists.

In order to create and serve our 5 course food surplus feast we needed to recruit some enthusiastic volunteers. Little did we know that our volunteers would enjoy working on the first event so much that that became the permanent Wasteless team, 2 of whom volunteered at all three events! In total more than 15 volunteers helped at our Wasteless Suppers, from collecting and storing food, to delivering to chefs, rescuing people stuck in the snow and shovelling snow to setting the tables, plating up, arranging flowers and looking after our guests.

 

The Wasteless suppers preserved, pickled, cooked and served a total of 261 kg of food that would have otherwise been wasted. The food was then safely transported, handled, stored, distributed and cooked by the participating chefs/businesses to offer our five-course food surplus feasts.

A majority of the food was collected from our the Sainsburys store on Colchester Avenue. In the week/s leading up to the events we would visit the store at around 9.30pm to collect any food that was being taken off the shelves that evening. The types of food we collected varied from evening to evening and week to week. In the week leading up to Wasteless 2 we experienced bad weather and snow which led to people panic buying and meant that commonly wasted food like bread was not available. We were surprised to find that a lot of meat was going to waste and made it a priority to rescue it. In addition we were also able to save bunches of flowers which were starting to look a little sad and used these to decorate the tables.

 

Food was also collected from some local food businesses and our food partners. For example, the cheese pantry donated large amounts of beautiful raclette cheese that was nearing it’s sell by date. And Penylan preserves donated us a batch of lime and lemon marmalade that had not set.

 

A few examples of things we commonly collected included bruised peppers, overripe bananas, floppy herbs, eggs from a carton that had a breakage, and sugar from torn bags. 

And what was served? Sourdough ice cream by Cocorico Patisserie, banana jam by Inner City Pickle, mixed veg rostis by Anna Loka, rice balls by Penylan Pantry and sticky mandarin cake by Beca Lyne Pirkis were a few of the amazing dishes created. Phil from Dusty’s mushroom ketchup, pickled apples, daikon slaw and slowcooked meat was a dish that required much labour and ingenuity in using everything that was made available to him – it had so many layers of flavour and texture and nothing was wasted. Lia used her new personal obsession with dehydration, pickles and pickling methods from around the globe to give people at our table more ideas on how to make the most of seasonal resources.

 

We are able to offer a wide range of activities based around food waste, from school, family or adult workshops to wasteless cook ups – please get in touch using the form below if you’d like to talk about an event for your organisation. 

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