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  • Talking Food Waste with Darren Deadman

    19 September 2019


    In order to tackle food waste, we have introduced a set of food waste reduction rules and a new, seasonal minimal-waste conferencing and events menu.

    Conceived by our Chef Director, Darren Deadman, the rules are a list of simple, manageable steps for our chefs to follow which we hope will make the task of reducing waste a realistic objective. We caught up with Darren to hear more about the inspiration behind the rules and the minimal waste conferencing and events menu which he has launched in selected Searcys venues.

    What inspired you to create the waste reduction rules and low-waste events menu?

    As a chef, the thought of waste is alarming due to the cost, the work and the impact on the environment. Historically, we used to eat everything and had little to no waste. Over time, we have become creators of our own undoing, wanting the perfect produce in terms of shape, size and colour, as well as being over-fussy with food. The impact of this waste on our planet is substantial, and as chefs, we should be at the forefront of this change and taking a stance. This is just the beginning!

    How regularly will you be changing the low-waste events menus?

    The plan is to change and update our low-waste menus in sync with the seasons, with four different menu cycles a year. Our current harvest menu includes a beetroot barley risotto with roast roots, a beetroot leaf salad and a rapeseed dressing, using all the parts of the beetroot. As a brand, we are true advocates of seasonal produce and using as much of it as possible in order to waste as little as possible. Through this ethos, sustainability has become part of Searcys’ DNA.

    What are your favourite autumnal ingredients?

    For me, it has to be artichokes, they are so versatile and pack a great flavour whilst remaining light. Add British apples and blackberries and then we are talking, especially as we have our seasonal apple calendar which showcases a monthly changing apple which you can find in our café’s or meeting rooms. Our Harvest events menu features a blackberry and Bramley apple pie with custard which uses seasonal apples, free-range eggs, British-milled flour and British butter.

    What are your top tips for reducing waste at home?

    1. Don’t overbuy – too many people buy for the week or month – only buy for a few as this will help with stock wastage and produce spoiling.
    2. Buy fresh – buying fresh and regularly you will ensure you buy the best, in-season produce at a good price and the shelf life will be longer.
    3. Plan your meals – we all struggle sometimes with finding the time to plan meals and cook, but planning can ensure that y
      ou reduce waste through using surplus ingredients for your next meal in a different way.
    4. Reduce your portion sizes – a well-balanced meal will fill you up and make you feel great. In terms of health avoid basing your meal around starch or protein – we need a balance between carbohydrates, protein and fat to create a magical balance.

    And lastly, make food fun and enjoy it – food brings emotions to us all – by making it enjoyable and fun and the impact this has on your household is important. Eat together in a relaxed environment with no pressure and talk. If you have children, involve them as this will increase their awareness of food waste and their enjoyment of food.


    Searcys Catering


    Searcys Food Waste Reduction Rules


    1. Order seasonal ingredients: utilise the wonderful produce the UK has to offer and work with the seasons to create dishes.
    2. Use a local supply chain: all Searcys chefs have the flexibility to choose their own local suppliers to minimise food miles and support local economy.
    3. Design plant-focused menus: develop dishes that focus on using as much plant and vegetable produce as possible. Make use of sustainable pulses, grains and mushrooms.
    4. Aim for zero-waste dishes:  create dishes that use all elements of an ingredient, and do not peel vegetables unnecessarily.
    5. Consider the proteins on the plate and feature MCS-approved fish, British poultry and wild game.
    6. Order daily and reduce stock holding: make sure to order produce daily and not to order anything before stocks are checked. Limit the amount of perishable produce you have in stock.
    7. Control portion size: design menus with portions that are satisfying but not oversized, to reduce uneaten food.
    8. Make use of leftovers: where safe to do so, repurpose leftovers – for example, make croutons from bread or use coffee grounds as compost.
    9. Offer English sparkling wines and look out for organic, carbon-neutral or bio-dynamic wines.
    10. Offer tap water where possible or use SRA-approved sustainable suppliers.
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