How a restaurant fights food waste

PETERSHAM NURSERIES were NOMINATED for the waste no food award at the food made good awards 2018
We want to ensure we produce as little food waste across our restaurants as possible; reducing prep and plate waste, creating a nose to tail ethos and embedding it thoroughly in the values and ethos of the company and staff.

Involving the farm

Harry Boglione, son of our owners Gael and Francesco has been instrumental in this process. In 2014, he set up Haye Farm on the Devon/Dorset border. With him we have been able to really develop and implement a farm to fork philosophy. We know exactly where so much of our fruit, veg, meat, poultry and eggs come from. The close relationship is completely transparent, the chefs and other members of the team regularly visit the farm to learn about the organic method and practices used.

As we as a business grew and expanded into Covent Garden, we needed a greater quantity of produce from the farm. As this has been a long term project, the past few years have allowed Harry and his team to scale up the production. Operationally there have been some challenges and changes implemented to improve the process. Harry has expanded his team allowing him to focus on the growth of his business. A close relationship with all the farm and staff members, including chefs, FOH and admin staff has been developed over the years. Training on the organic methods used were important. The chefs and Harry have undertaken butchery courses together, ensuring that they are able to utilise the whole part of the animal and minimum waste is generated.

Writing a policy and involving all stakeholders

Our food waste policy is extensive, it touches and benefits so many areas. It benefits the grower or farmer who is able to deliver the entire animal to us knowing that his time and devotion will be utilised fully. Any waste left over is re-used by the kitchen staff, who use it to make stocks, sauces and soups which are then used on the menu. Anything else is used for staff food each day. We provide one meal a day to our staff. Any excess after that is minimal and whatever is useable, we donate to local homeless shelters and food charities, including the Vineyard Community Centre and Spear. 

Adapting to change: the menu

The team worked closely with Harry to look at ways to minimise food waste and put a number of actions in place. The chefs never write a set and rigid menu. They create a menu that changes daily depending on what is in season and what is available from the farm. They spend more time after/before a shift preparing the produce that arrives, and often this includes whole carcasses. We also ensured that the chefs and gardeners worked together on our composting initiatives, compost generated is used across the nursery and gardens

Adapting to change: staff training and prep

The chefs are required to change their working pattern to prepare the food, ensuring there is as little waste as possible. As a lunch service only restaurant, we close on a Monday. Chefs changed their rotas to ensure a number of the team now work on a Monday, using it as a prep day. A committed team who strongly believe in the farm to form philosophy and nose to tail practices have been important to this, they have been willing to learn new skills. A number of them have been on extensive butchery courses to implement this. Instead of ordering and undertaking a normal procurement policy, chefs are in daily contact with Harry, they are aware of what is available and are able to plan their menus and quantities accordingly. 

It has been an enormous success, the team has been able to develop new skills as a result of our food waste reduction initiatives. We are continuously looking to improve, particularly in this area. We have done extensive research into purchasing an anaerobic digesting machine. We plan to rebuild our entire kitchen space in early 2019, we hope to install the digesting machine there. This is a really exciting initiative for us. We hope to continue to make large steps towards reducing our food waste over the next few years.  

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