Catering students from Northampton College teamed up with three award-winning local chefs to create a delicious three-course ‘binner’ out of ingredients destined for landfill.
The students joined forces with James Peck of Burnt Lemon Catering, Arthur Dzerins of The Hopping Hare and Natasha Caton ‘The Loving Chef’ to produce a series of stunning dishes as part of the fundraiser for Elsie’s Café in Northampton.
The chefs were handed ingredients from supermarkets that were earmarked for the rubbish dump as they were approaching their best before date. The food, which included prime cuts of rib eye steak, chicken and root vegetables, was then transformed into restaurant-standard dishes for 70 diners at The Lane – the college’s own student-led brasserie.
Phil Martin, head of catering at Northampton College, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work in a busy service under the guidance of some exceptional chefs. They will have learnt a lot from the experience and it was very pleasing to see them come together and work for each other as part of a team to make the event a roaring success.”
Diners tucked into a starter of pressed chicken with curried onion puree, pickled carrot and burnt cauliflower before enjoying a main course of steak with root vegetable dauphinoise, sautéed greens and horseradish crème fraiche. Dessert was an all vegan trio of tofu tiramisu, cacao and bluebuerry torte and mango and ginger ice cream.
Sheena Cooper, founder of Elsie’s Café which is part of the national Real Junk Food Project, said: “We are thrilled with the event and are very grateful to Northampton College for hosting us in their state-of-the-art kitchens and beautiful restaurant. The students were a credit to the college.
“The standard of food prepared by the chefs and the students was unbelievable. It really is incredible to think this food was on its way to landfill before we intervened. We are passionate about feeding bellies, not bins and thankfully this food was given the treatment it deserved, ending up on people’s plates rather than joining the tonnes of needless waste in a landfill site.”
As well as helping out in the kitchens with prepping and plating up, catering students also worked as front-of-house, assisting volunteers from Elsie’s Café to serve dozens of diners who helped raise hundreds of pounds for charity.