Over 300 treated to rescued Biryani at Clonakilty Food Rescue
Our ‘Food Rescue’ event in sunny Clonakilty was a huge success! Aimed at preventing food waste, the community-led feast gave locals the opportunity to sample a delicious lunch created from food that would otherwise have been thrown away.
Hungry locals of all ages queued all the way out the door of O’Donovan’s Hotel on a bright Sunday in the Cork town. “I counted over 300 people,” recalls Isobel Towse, one of the event’s organisers and University College Cork graduate of International Development and Food Policy.
The crowds were treated to Lamb Biryani and dessert by top chefs from Richys Restaurant & R Café and Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Clonakilty, West Cork, using short-dated and “ugly” (but incredibly tasty!) food donated by Scally’s Supervalu Clonakilty and Harte’s SPAR Supermarket.
Catherine O’Connor, organiser and chairperson of Clonakilty Tidy Towns, said there was something for everyone to enjoy on the day: “The bread and butter pudding prepared by Inchydoney chef Adam Medcalf went down a treat with the older attendees, while the younger population enjoyed the spicy main dish prepared by Richy Virahsawmy.”
Richy is a Michelin trained chef who takes food waste seriously. As a business owner, he recognises the need to reduce waste and there’s a benefit to that for his restaurant too: lower bills and a more successful business. Rather than serving oversized meals, each portion is the correct size.
“Commercially, you want people to eat three meals,” Richy says. With normal portion sizes for each course, customers will have a better restaurant experience and even have room for desert! Just in case there are leftovers, Richy offers doggy bags. “There is usually very little waste,” he says. He buys vegetables locally that are based on the seasons, to prevent spoiling, and sometimes runs out of food, having to purchase more locally.
Clonakilty’s Food Rescue Event also did much to encourage and educate people on the advantages of reducing food waste. Isobel noticed that everyone attending the event stayed to watch some of the talks. Volunteers also handed out Food Rescue leaflets with food waste tips, for attendees to read while queueing or back at home. “If they remember even one piece of information from the day, I think it was a success,” Isobel affirms.
With over 40 active local community groups in Clonakilty, the future looks bright for residents to enjoy similar events in the future. Isobel said there is already talk of a summer “Street Feast” where the main street could be pedestrianised and more businesses could get involved.
Catherine O’Connor says the Food Rescue event highlighted the need for all of us to buy into “prevention of food waste,” the effects on our environment, not to mention the waste of money that we are guilty of. She aims to continue the work with talks on food composting and more: “We hope to work with the Grow It Yourself group with a view to locating an area in town for a community garden.” They’re also thinking of introducing a programme of planting fruit trees in some areas of town.
How can we further spread the message of reducing food waste? Isobel has some ideas: “I would try to get more businesses involved in these kinds of events. I would also encourage people to watch the global waste documentary ‘Trashed’. It would help if it was more readily available (i.e. to stream for free online!).”
Catherine was impressed with the food waste knowledge of the supermarket owners and chefs, while chatting to them on the day. “They couldn’t have been more helpful and their message of support through their co-operation and generosity spoke volumes. This enthusiasm and advice had to have an effect on people. I believe people will think differently as a result.”
Top food waste tips learned on the day!
Isobel: Buy more food from the “reduced to clear” section, and give scraps to the dog instead of binning them. I also want to get a composter now as I have since discovered the benefits of composting!
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Reported by Niamh Madden