How This App is Combating Food Waste

A consistent influx of food waste is an inevitable problem for a restaurant.

An estimated 30-40 % of the food supply is food waste, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But this isn’t just a problem in the US, it impacts restaurants all over the world.

Not to mention, the leftover food from restaurants is often perfectly edible and it’s just thrown in the trash.

To combat this problem, the mobile app Too Good to Go is connecting hungry consumers in British cities to purchase leftovers from restaurants for less.

Not only does this app help the restaurant dispose of the extra food, but it helps find those in need get a tasty meal.

Over 170 restaurants, café and bakeries are offering food on the app. The cost is £2 ($1.29) to £3.80 ($4.90) per meal and the buyer has to collect the food an hour before the restaurant’s closing time.

The Too Good to Go app launched in Denmark at the end of last year. It has quickly gained momentum and now it’s available in major UK cities like 2015

"We're trying to highlight that food waste is not actually waste at all … and place a value on food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away," said Chris Wilson, co-founder of Too Good To Go on CNBC's "The Rundown."[Restaurants across the U.K.] are throwing out over 600,000 tons of edible food each year, that's something we're trying to raise awareness of.”

Do you think this app will take off? Why does the industry need a service like this? 

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Spain’s Renowned Chef David Muñoz is Bringing the Heat to London This Fall

London’s culinary scene is about to get fierier!

The Edgy chef behind DiverXo and StreetXo in Madrid, David Muñoz is making his way to London’s Mayfair neighborhood this fall.

In November, there will be StreetXO restaurant for London locals and visitors to dine at to enjoy some of the fan-favorite dishes,like the kimchi croquetas with tuna steak and burnt butter, fried quail egg, shichimi-togarashi, or the steamed club sandwich with ricotta.

The Madrid StreetXO has been deemed the "Cirque du Soleil of gastronomy” by the New York Times.

Muñoz has big plans for the StreetXO concept and wants to open several locations around the world. So why did he pick London as the city to set up store no. 2? “After moving to London when I was 21 and spending five years working in restaurants like Nobu and Hakkasan, I feel like this is my second home,” said chef Muñoz in a press release. “I’m excited to bring a cooking style that I’ve really evolved in Madrid to London.”

Although the space is still in development, the restaurant décor will match Muñoz edgy look (he sports a badass Mohawk.) There will be “exposed pipework and salvaged fixtures from a container ship.”

So, London do you think the Muñoz concept will be a success? Taking a concept across international borders is no walk in the park. Read more

Lighting the Fire Under London’s Barbecue Scene

Salmon cooked on a cedar plank

British chefs have lit a fire, so to speak, under the traditional North American barbecue, with U.S.-style smokehouses cropping up across London, and using wood and smoke to create flavors that are pushing culinary boundaries.

According to Foodism, when most Brits think of barbecuing, they think of cooking over charcoal, but an innovative segment of the London restaurant scene is redefining this cooking technique. These chefs view wood as more than just a heating source – it’s an actual ingredient.

"Charcoal is essentially refined," Tom Adams, Pitt Cue's executive chef, told Foodism. "It's wood cooked with no oxygen to the extent that it's carbonised, whereas wood is a completely unrefined product. It's as unrefined as you can get – it's as it was in the ground. So, like with anything – unrefined sugar or flour, say – the less refined, the more impurities that are in there, which is where the flavour comes from."

The flavours range from fruit like applewood in pork dishes to silver birch and chestnut for fish, vegetables, and delicate meats to oak, which works well with most everything. The Blues Kitchen uses plum wood to pull out the flavour of hickory smoke. Read more

London Underground: The Future of Urban Farming?

Hydroponic Farm

An underground farm in Clapham North (33 metres under the street) could be the future of urban farming in London.

"It starts with that really big-picture stuff about growing populations. But, simply, what we're doing is creating a fresh produce brand,” co-founder Steven Dring told Foodism. "You start with all of that big stuff, and then you're saying, 'Can we feed people in a different way?', 'Can we grow food that doesn't have to travel?' Effectively, we take out seasonality, which means we don't have to fly stuff in from around the world — we can do it locally. You take out food miles because you can get it there quicker, and if it lasts in our customers' fridges two days longer, it starts to affect food waste, too.”

The 65,000 square foot hydroponic farm (a closed-loop system), known as Growing Underground, uses 70 percent less water than traditional open-field farming to grow sustainable herbs, micro greens, and salad leaves year-round. The lack of sun isn’t a problem thanks to LED lights that can be used for growing in controlled environments.

The operators have total control over the growing environment, which is free of pesticides and unaffected by weather and seasonal changes – and take pride in the fact that their crops can be fresh in commercial kitchens within 4 hours of being picked and packaged. Read more

Why London Chefs Turn to The Ginger Pig for Their Meat

Butcher Meat

Ginger Pig butcher shops are well-known throughout all of London. How did they manage to become so legendary?

What started out as a tiny business now boasts seven shops across London where there is a strong local demand and expect to open an eighth location soon. Twenty-plus years ago, the farm had only three Tamworth pigs. Today, that operation has grown to 3,000 acres and a network of farmers that also help supply the Ginger Pig’s London butchers’ shops (for example, corn fed chickens for Leicestershire). The butcher boasts “good animal husbandry and welfare” and “livestock that is looked after well in the field” so it “tastes better on the plate.”

The Ginger Pig supplies everything from T-bone steak and ribs to bacon and sausage to 40 London restaurants (Ginger Pig’s two biggest clients are Hawksmoor and Honest Burgers). And their experts offer 450 butchery classes a year.

A loyal, skilled, and experienced staff also helps.

“It's hard work, but all the guys have been working with us for years,” health and safety manager Andy Woolcott told Foodism. “I started making sausages when I was 14 years old, then I left school and have been a butcher ever since. We now have ten butchers and three bakers, and if something needs doing, we do it.” Read more

3D Printing Restaurant Promises World Tour

3D Printing

In April, the Netherlands became home to what is being called “the world’s first” 3D printing restaurant. The pop up will next appear in London at the end of July before taking on a world tour.

Food Ink., as the restaurant is aptly name, describes the scene guests will experience in London: a nine-course dinner that is “3D-printed live by an international team of chefs, artists and technologists,” according to its website, as well as utensils and furniture (from stools to lamps), which will also be produced through 3D printing.

The concept of edible food from a 3D printer is definitely difficult to get one’s head around, but picture this from the London menu — fish and chips: “toasted seaweed with computer-chip circuit patterns 3D-printed out of kimchi fish mayonnaise.” The inventors call it “an iconic British dish reinvented for the digital generation.”

For those who might miss the event July 25 through July 27 (the gathering is exclusive, limited to just 10 guests at the 3D-printed dinner table), it will also be live streamed over the internet.

This London stop, coined by the company as the “world premiere,” capitalizes on the success of Venlo, Netherlands.

The pop up is promising a “world tour” later this year. Look out Austin, Los Angeles, Rome, Berlin, Dubai, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Toronto, NYC, Taipei, Las Vegas, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Singapore, Cape Town, Sydney, and Reykjavik. Read more

Father of Fusion: Peter Gordon’s Influence on London’s Food and Chefs

Fusion

London’s food scene has changed a lot, due — in no small part — to the influence of Chef Peter Gordon, a “founding father of fusion cooking,” who opened The Providores 15 years ago.

Prior to The Providores, Gordon, who hails from New Zealand, established London’s The Sugar Club in 1989 with fellow New Zealander Michael McGrath.

The Providores features innovative dishes like yellow courgette and tarragon soup with a pomegranate pumpkin crumb, as well as a prawn and lemongrass dumpling with green tea noodles and soft boiled quail’s egg, in addition to lamb neck with figs and feta, and The Sugar Club classic beef pesto.

Oklava’s Selin Kiazim, attributes Gordon’s ability to mix different textures and flavours to where she is in the industry today.

"…he taught me about ingredients from all around the world and how to use them, to not be afraid of combining ingredients and just go for it,” Kiazim told Foodism. Further, Kaizim credits the harmonious relationship between the front and back of house at Oklava to Gordon’s mentorship.

Anna Hansen of The Modern Pantry has similar sentiments, crediting Gordon with introducing a whole new “repertoire of ingredients” to her cooking.

"His approach was very much give anything a go and don't be afraid to cross cultures food-wise, and if you think a couple of ingredients will work well together, then try them,” Hansen told Foodism. “That taught me to be really open minded and to explore..."

Gordon has had a profound impact not only on the food of London, but on those who prepare it.

Miles Kirby, now of Caravan, recalls working at The Providores, describing it to Foodism as “a perfect balance of nurture, professionalism and freedom to express yourself as a chef creatively.” Read more

Keeping Up Appearances: London’s Global Food Rep

Plated Food

Restaurant tourism in London is on the rise, putting London’s restaurants right smack in the middle of a “boom time,” according to an essay on Londonist.com. But the city’s food scene faces challenges and cannot risk becoming complacent.

According to Code Hospitality News Forum’s Adam Hyman, the city "has so much diversity; it's culturally rich and is still a financial centre...10 years ago the food wasn't great but it has upped its game."

Celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, as well as social media, have raised London’s restaurant profile, but has taken a hard hit on rental rates, causing many restaurants and guests to head out of the West End to more affordable locations like Woodford and East Dulwich.

As it becomes more difficult for restaurants to make money in London, they also struggle with finding and retaining good people. It doesn’t help that restaurant wages in London don’t pay the bills due to the high cost of living.

To help maintain London’s global reputation as a restaurant capital, chef Dan Doherty of Duck & Waffle, has launched a network called Chefs of Tomorrow to connect young people with others in the industry, thereby encouraging them to get into the restaurant trade and learn how to run an establishment. Read more

Celebrating the Most Diverse Food Capital in the World

Fine Dining

London’s food scene has experienced much culinary success, thanks to an openness to different foods, according to Daniel Noake, the events director of the Taste of London festival.

“The London restaurant scene is now one of the most diverse and exciting in the world. In contrast to stereotypes of British adventurousness when it comes to dining, the openness of Londoners to food from different cultures and regions has driven its success,” Noake told the Evening Standard.

The festival celebrates those chefs, foods, and establishments driving this success with awards such as Best Breakfast, Good Drinking, Restaurateur of the Year, and Best New London Restaurant. Award categories are Best Breakfast, Worth the Queue, Good Drinking, Restaurateur of the Year, Best New London Restaurant, and the Champagne Laurent-Perrier London Restaurant of the Year.

In the running for Restaurant of the Year are A Wong, which attracts guests with its 10-course "Taste of China" menu and wins fans by selling dim sum by the piece; Lyle’s, frequented by hipsters; Otto’s, a classic French restaurant; The Quality Chop House, serving locally sourced, sustainable British Food; and The Woodford, a sophisticated, modern European dining experience. Read more

In London, Clean Eating is a Virtue

Raw Foods

Clean eating, so-called “virtuous” restaurants,are  taking their cues from New York and Los Angeles and cropping up all over London.

The trend ranges from raw foods to whole food to everything vegetarian and vegan in between. You won’t find any refined sugar or flour here, but you will find a range of organic foods and a twist: an alcohol-free bar.

Notting Hill’s vegan restaurant Nama, where everything is raw, unprocessed, and organic, is said to have pioneered London’s raw food movement, making way for similarly-inspired establishments like Tayna’s Kitchen, where everything is raw, as well as free of wheat, dairy, gluten, and refined sugar

Redemption, a vegan mini-chain where you can “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself,” offers a bar completely free of alcohol, including mocktails like mojitos, margaritas and martinis.

Aside from the liquor-lacking bar, perhaps most notable is the sort-of-vegan “veggan” restaurant Farmacy. In addition to organic wines, the mostly vegan menu includes eggs. Read more