Buy in bulk, shop seasonally and eat your (carrot) greens Eco chef Tom Hunt shares his thrifty food tips, shopping lists and recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Food sustainability isnt just about protecting our environment, its about protecting us, the consumers, and supporting the farmers who make our food.
Affordability is a key element of what a sustainable diet looks like. I call my approach Root to Fruit eating. It is a philosophy that aims to make it easier for people to cook good food, blending a little chefs knowhow with academic research, and making it applicable to home cooks and professionals alike. My shopping list comes in at just over 18 a week cheaper than the average national weekly spend per person of 24. Over a year, thats a saving of about 300 while still enjoying top-quality food (I buy everything from my local independent health-food shop or market, or organic items from the supermarket. Of course, if you need to bring the cost of your shopping down further, buy non-organic). Im a vegetarian, so there is no meat on my shopping list, and eating less meat is certainly a good way of keeping costs down. However, if you are buying meat, opt for cheaper cuts of higher-welfare animals.
Every head chef works to a tight budget to make a profit. When we invent a dish, we cost and portion it gram for gram to calculate a gross profit of 70-75%. So a dish we sell for 5 must cost less than 1.25 to make, including any waste, which we are always looking to minimise.
That margin is there to cover the cost of rent, staff, utilities and, if youre lucky, a profit. But chefs love good produce, so they devise other ways to keep their costs down, turning scraps that cost pennies into a fine meal for which patrons are happy to pay pounds. Noma, for example one of the best restaurants in the world serves cods head as a main course. Taking on board a chefs thrift in the kitchen will help you save money while eating healthily and sustainably as my guide and recipes show.