Food loss and waste

Alex Wibberley

Alex Wibberley

This is something that is really close to our hearts at Eat Street and we are certainly very aware of our food loss and waste. 

Eat Street requires a lot of day to day planning and organisation and this is with food waste at the forefront of our minds. It starts from the first design stages of the menu. 

I designed the dishes carefully to avoid too much spoilage of food ingredients, for example I use red cabbage in several Tex Mex dishes. If I am not selling as much of the slaw, I will ferment the cabbage instead and turn it into sauerkraut for the hotdog. The same principle applies for the kimchi and lots of other dishes where I will utilise the same ingredient in lots of different ways. 

All of the fresh food at Eat Street is made on the day of pick up based on the orders placed, even the range of breads. It is a lot of work for one person to manage, planning, cooking, serving etc but there are many benefits to zero waste, not only the obvious cost savings. Keeping everything tight means that the 2 or 3 portions of food I might normally waste over the course of a week merely provides my personal lunches and dinners. 

If I have perishable veg like peppers in my fridge for the Korean beef stir-fry for example and I am not using them quick enough, I will prep them differently and make a batch of tagine to put them in instead. Veg trimmings and peelings go into the compost and help to keep it healthy, providing habitats to many creatures and, of course, a rich soil for next year’s crops. 

I am not a great gardener I must admit but there are some things that are easier to grow which I use a lot of such as garlic and onions and they will be much improved with a nice rich compost, full of nutrients. 

It would certainly be easier in some ways to prep tonnes of everything and rock up to a site, hatch open for anyone to come up and order. I would definitely make more money that way. But Eat Street is not a get rich quick business. It is a community venture which hopes to give back as it receives over the coming years. Eat Street will hopefully be sustained over a prosperous future and will leave a positive mark on the Isle of Wight, using what our Island has to offer, without using it up. We have a real obligation to others less fortunate, to other species that lack our intelligence, to our future generations. We MUST be considered in what we do to prolong our planet’s life and encourage biodiversity. 

Humans believe we have the right to decide the future of planet Earth, what lives, how long it lives for. How arrogant is that? 

I realise that takeaways have been, for many years an ad hoc, often last minute easy option for people. Eat Street is a new concept which embraces the changes we are facing and we are asking our customers to embrace those changes with us. With careful planning we can make a sustainable future. Be considered in all that you do – Do I need that carrier bag? Can I use that for something else? Can I manage with what I already have? 

Let us throw away just one more unnecessary thing – The idea that we cannot improve, that it is too late to do anything. 

Alex planning ahead in trailer

Think outside the box and start to use instead of waste wherever possible. Try this recipe for

vegan watermelon rind curry

Watermelon Rind 600g (not skin or flesh but the white bit in between)

Coconut oil 30g

Onion 100g

Ginger root 20g

Garlic 10g

Coconut milk 400ml

Thai red curry paste 50g

Crunchy peanut butter 50g

Cashews 70g

chilli powder 3g

Coriander 10g

Lime x 1

  1. Dice the onion and fry in the coconut oil
  2. Grate the ginger and garlic and add to the onion. Fry until fragrant
  3. Add the the diced watermelon rind with the coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, cashews and chilli powder
  4. Mix well and cook out for approximately 15 minutes
  5. Season the curry to taste and then top with picked coriander leaves and lime wedges
  6. Serve with rice inside the watermelon skin as a bowl. Real street food!

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