New pop-up café inspired by food waste opens in Shoreditch

The Fresh Thinking Cafe serves food based on leftovers.

The Fresh Thinking Cafe serves food based on leftovers and recycling what you already have. Pic: Kitty Boyle

A pop-up café inspired by food waste products serving dishes made of excess food from Hackney suppliers opened its doors in Shoreditch today.

The café serves a tasting menu inspired by foods that are typically wasted by people in the UK, to prove how foods we often forget about can be adapted into both healthy and nutritious meal.

All the meals served are composed of surplus food sourced from local Hackney suppliers where possible, and use ingredients that most people would never think to recycle.

A lot of the menu has been inspired by locals and people up and down the country who have thought up the meal ideas.

The Hotpoint Fresh Thinking Café in Bethnal Green was officially opened by chef Jamie Oliver yesterday evening.

Oliver, who is also the brand’s celebrity ambassador, has addressed the café’s mission saying: “Good food is a beautiful thing, it brings people together, it can cheer you up, and it can give you all the goodness you need to fuel your day – which is why me and the team don’t think any of it should be wasted.

I’m really excited to share tips for cutting food waste, and beautiful recipes that celebrate ingredients that often get thrown away.”

A starter at the cafe - roasted cauliflower on miso puree with pickled florets.

A starter at the cafe – roasted cauliflower on miso puree with pickled florets. Pic: Kitty Boyle

Food waste is becoming an increasingly important issue in the UK. According to a recent survey, European households claim to throw away over 8% of the food they buy.

Just in London alone, food waste amounts to around £840 a year per family, subsequently this creates 19 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

All proceeds from this event will go towards charity FoodCycle, a charity fighting food waste, food poverty, and loneliness through community projects all over the country.

CEO of the charity Mary McGrath told EastLondonLines: “Over a third of all food produced in the world goes to waste and in the UK we throw away a shocking £13bn worth of food each year.

“That’s why we’re delighted to be partners with Hotpoint for their Fresh Thinking Café, which is helping to raise awareness of this huge issue whilst supporting us with our mission to reduce food waste, hunger and loneliness across the country.

The proceeds from the Fresh Thinking Café will help us to continue doing what we do best, which is creating nutritious, three-course, community meals using food that would otherwise go to waste”.

The menu includes dishes such as Moroccan chicken with sweet potato croquettes and crushed harissa carrots, and salmon kedgeree with crispy egg and spicy fruit pickle. Desserts include bread and butter pudding and vegan salted chocolate mousse.

Another starter - Moroccan chicken.

Another starter – Moroccan chicken and sweet potato croquettes. Pic: Kitty Boyle

Hotpoint recently conducted research on the top 10 most commonly forgotten foods in the UK, with bread, bagged salad and fresh vegetables topping the list.

  1. Bread
  2. Bagged salad
  3. Fresh vegetables
  4. Cooked leftovers
  5. Fresh fruit
  6. Milk
  7. Eggs
  8. Cheese
  9. Meat
  10. Fish

Much of the menu comprises foods on this list.

A sweet to finish - banoffee bread and butter pudding with brown bread ice cream.

A sweet to finish – banoffee bread and butter pudding with brown bread ice cream. Pic: Kitty Boyle

The pop-up café is only open for a short time only from 10-11 October. It is situated on 133-135 Bethnal Green Road, with the closest overground stop being Shoreditch High Street.

There are no set prices at the café, diners are asked to pay as they feel appropriate for the dishes they eat.

Here’s a breakdown of what your donation at the café could pay for:

£5 Buys tablecloths and decorations to create a welcoming environment each week

£10 Provides a nutritious community meal for 7 guests

£20 Rescues 2 tonnes of surplus food, equivalent to 4,700 meals

£40 Stocks a project’s store cupboard with essential spices and oils to make the food super tasty

£50 Helps train a team of volunteers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of guests

There are only a limited number of reservations available at the café.

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