Robb Recommends: Rubbish Cooks

As in, the new monthly waste-free fine-dining experience at Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge, that is.

Call it “a holistic approach”, if you’re in the mood for a pun – but however it’s referred to, there’s no doubt that an anti-waste culture is tightening its grip on British fine dining culture. For some time, Cub in Hoxton, Redemption in Shoreditch and Notting Hill and Farmacy (also in Notting Hill) have been taking a zero-tolerance approach to binning edible goods, and now, regular event in Cambridge, ironically named Rubbish Cooks, is set to up the zero-waste ante.

Launching on 30th September 2019, Rubbish Cooks has been conceived by Tristan Welch, Chef Director at Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge – a destination restaurant, opened in August 2018 as part of the new University Arms hotel, whose interior was designed Martin Brudnizki to mirror the communal dining halls synonymous with Cambridge Colleges.

Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge  Simon Brown

The initiative is designed to inspire and educate regarding food waste in the industry. The new monthly supper club will invite Parker’s Tavern diners to enjoy a ‘free’ three-course menu compiled from ingredients that are usually regarded as ‘waste’: from crushed wonky vegetable hatchet to dented tin bean ragout via bone and vegetable peelings broth with tortellini and confit vegetable stalks. Dessert? Stale bread and treacle pudding with Cambridge gin distilled cucumber.

Guests will only pay £20 per head which will cover service as well as a charitable donation to Jimmy’s Night Shelter, a local Cambridge-based charity. “Restaurants are a notoriously wasteful business, and tend to focus too much on premium ingredients and cuts at the expense of perfectly good food that might not look perfect,” says Welch. “This is why we’ve worked closely with our suppliers who are helping us find new ways to eliminate waste from their supply chains.”

Tristan Welch.  Chris Roberts