Kitchen waste: just another ingredient?
Published 18 March 2021

Silo, image by Matt_Russell

Leftover food and drink is an issue in every British household. Tania Ballantine speaks to top chefs who reveal their best dishes made using surplus scraps.

The chef's tale: ‘We always aim for zero waste, but lockdown left us with surplus bar stock,’ says Will Devlin, chef-owner of acclaimed Kent farm and restaurant, The Small Holding. ‘Rather than let the stout spoil, I mixed it with a little of our raw apple cider mother vinegar, for a mellow stout vinegar with lovely chocolate and toffee notes. We glaze our stout treacle tarts with it.’
At home: Make beer batter, Welsh rarebit, gravy, steamed mussels, or cheese fondue.

The chef’s tale: At London zero-waste trailblazer Silo, no scrap goes to waste. They make everything from fennel to soy sauce to veg treacle, but the best-known is their fermented Siloaf miso, which uses the crusts of the house sourdough (they even save the crumbs on breadboards). ‘It’s sweet and savoury, like an umami toffee,’ says chef-owner Doug McMaster, ‘and amazing in desserts.’
At home: Fry into croutons or blitz into breadcrumbs, make bread and butter pud or bread sauce, or grill for bruschetta.

The chef’s tale: At acclaimed Cornish restaurant St Tudy Inn, chef-owner Emily Scott uses chicken carcasses and kitchen scraps including veg peelings, onion ends, cabbage stalks, celery leaves and parsley stalks to make a winter broth. ‘Delicious and restorative, this will boost your immunity and make you feel good,’ she says.
At home: Boil chunky bones for broth, freeze carcasses to make stock later, use fish heads and shells for a bouillabaisse.

The chef’s tale: At London restaurant Santo Remedio, chef-owner Edson Diaz-Fuentes sources quality pineapples and uses every bit. ‘We remove the flesh to make salsa, but the core and rind we combine with brown sugar and cinnamon to make a traditional drink called tepache. In Mexico, you drink it as it comes, but we also put it in our cocktails.’
At home: Blitz then slow bake to make fruit roll-ups, freeze in pieces for a smoothie or ice-pop mix, cook into a compote or jam, make fruit vinegar.

The chef’s tale: Oliver Gladwin, chef and co-owner of London farm-to-fork restaurants The Shed, Sussex, Rabbit and Nutbourne (plus a family farm in Sussex), makes flavoured butters by gently roasting herbs until dehydrated, then blitzing them to create ‘ash’. ‘Mixed with ordinary household butter, it creates a herb butter that will elevate any dish,’ he says.
At home: Make herb oils, whizz into salsas and pestos, freeze soft herbs into ice cubes, dry woody herbs in the oven, infuse in jugs of water.

The chef’s tale: Dairy comes full circle at award-winning Yorkshire restaurant The Black Swan. ‘We make a Greek-style yogurt from local cow’s milk, then use the whey to make a sauce for our steamed cod,’ explains chef-owner Tommy Banks. ‘We also make whey ice cream for our sister restaurant Roots and whey caramel for our delivery boxes.’
At home: Cook into soups or sauces (white, béchamel, custard), use slightly soured milk for scones or as a substitute for buttermilk in pancakes and soda bread.

The chef’s tale: For a true root-to-tip dish, The Wild Rabbit (part of the Daylesford estate) in the Cotswolds serves a market garden squash. Roast wedges sit on a bed of squash purée, pan-fried seeds, capers and kibbled dried onions. It’s finished with a glaze made from juiced-then-cooked peel. ‘Using every last bit of the vegetable shows it respect,’ enthuses head chef Nathan Eades.
At home: Batter and deep-fry for tempura. Roast into crisps, add peelings or leaves to thicken a soup or use veg tops in smoothies. Bake or fry seeds for a snack.