How do you use up waste or surplus in your kitchens?
Given the nature of the Fat Duck restaurant, we accumulate a lot of trimming or by-product from what we put on the menu. This will be used for the staff meals. We serve lunch and dinner every day and the chefs take it in turn on a rotation to cook for about 60-80 people. Trimmings from meat and vegetables, chocolate that we can’t use for the restaurant, and anything else that unfortunately won’t be used, we send it off as food waste to become bio-fuel. We avoid throwing away decent food.
Now, more and more as the company is growing, the amount of staff that we have there has increased, compared to when I started. So we do have to buy in food for the staff for protein. There are some dishes we cook that produce especially good staff meals. The classics are things such as fish pie, because we’re always cutting the fish in a particular way. The guys basically have free reign, they have to make a balanced meal between carbohydrate, vegetables fruit, and some meat, but it’s really a family meal.
Did you have any interaction with our guests?
I went and spoke to a lady called Jean. She was really sweet and was saying that she’s knitting cashmere scarves for homeless people, really lovely. I don’t know if she’s a bit lonely and she comes here for the social side of things. She said it’s nice to have a curry that’s not too spicy to accommodate as many people as possible. I personally don’t like spicy or hot food, so rather than serve it too hot to feed a few people, serve it mild.
One gentleman had dietary requirements, which of course we’re happy to accommodate. It was so nice to come out and see everyone enjoying themselves. It’s great because when people are a bit down and out in life, they can come here.
It creates good emotional feelings, when you eat something well made. It brings a homey feeling. And the curry we made is such a comforting dish, as is the sticky toffee pudding. Obviously we were quite limited to what was in the store cupboard, it’s a bit like ready, steady, cook. We’re so structured with how we cook in the restaurant. We know who is doing what, we know where everything is, so to be taken out of our comfort zone and make a meal within three hours, for 80 people, three courses, taking dietary requirements into consideration, gets you thinking.
How did you make the curry?
We made a curry sauce base with onions, ginger, garlic and an array of spices that we found in the dry store. We also used tomato, sweet potato, coconut and lots of different vegetables that were cooked separately and added in at the end, along with some stock and coriander. We made it with chicken or as a vegetarian dish.