This week Adrian talks Real Junk Food – and a brand new project for the team he works with.
I have been employed for the last 12 months for a community interest company known as Real Junk Food Manchester. One of many Real Junk Food projects nationally, we decided to do something different from our restaurant on Oxford Street.
It was set up to not only combat the growing problems our of food waste society, but as all meals were to be served on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis, we also sought to help provide a socially inclusive environment. It mattered not if you had £10 or 10p, you could pop along and get a filling meal, served to you by a great team of people (mostly volunteers) and eat in the comfort of our basement seating area untainted by social standing.
On the subject of waste, I as logistics manager, am tasked with intercepting the product and delivering it to our amazing chefs – who basically play the biggest game of ready steady cook you can imagine. Food is sourced not only from national online retailers and major supermarkets, but from local artisan bakeries, the kitchens of a convention centre and the cities own wholesale veg market. All of the food we intercept would otherwise end up as either animal feed or landfill!
In my time in the role, I have intercepted over 40 tonnes of otherwise perfectly edible products, heading for the bin. This could be down to a missed delivery slot, or because the task of sifting through box after box of, lets say fruit, is too much for someone to undertake. Everything intercepted has its place, that we cannot use in the kitchen is passed out to local hostels, collected to be made into toiletries bags for the homeless, or even taken to a local animal sanctuary to help put a smile on a puppies face!
Our chefs have provided a varied and always evolving menu that would always contain a vegetarian, vegan and gluten free option 5 days a week. Then our fine dining supper clubs saw our own team joined at times by a selection of guests who had accepted what became known as “The Junk Food Manchester Challenge”.
Sadly some good things have to come to an end, and on August the 11th we held our final supper club. Having served over sixty thousand plates of food it was time for something new.
We are now moving to a prep kitchen just up the road, where we intend to launch Manchester’s first waste food catering business. From simple buffet;s to the occasional wedding, not to mention feeding the office workers within the building where we are situated.
And we need your help. We’ve launched a crowdfunder to help us launch this new venture. You can find out more here, and help us #feedbelliesnotbins.