Ben Ternent, who runs Birmingham restaurant Opus, said everyone had a responsibility to cut the 12 billion tonnes of food cast aside in the UK each year.
His comments come as 100 food companies – including Greene King, Pizza Hut and Compass – this week signed up to the Courtauld Commitment 2025, a voluntary agreement unveiled by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), that urges leading food manufacturers and retailers to cut down their food waste by a fifth by 2025.
Ternent, whose restaurant was named Three Star Sustainability Champion by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) last November, welcomed the initiative and insisted a focus on purchasing habits was one way to address the issue.
“Only buy food that you will need,” he said. “For us at Opus, it means understanding the shape of that week’s or day’s business. Our reservations system allows us to understand what customers we will have that week, and our experience allows us to form a good idea of how many walk-in’s we will have.”
Opus at Cornwall Street changes its menu daily to cut down on potential waste and uses only market fresh, seasonal ingredients and free-range livestock.
Ternent acknowledged a daily changing menu might sound ‘difficult for a busy kitchen’ but claimed it was ‘a very natural way to create a menu’.
“We buy fish straight from the harbour each morning, so that we only purchase produce that the fisherman has caught,” he said. “As with vegetables, we buy quality produce from farmers who are accredited and award winning in their respect for the environment. We don’t care how wonky or ugly the vegetable may look, it’s all about the flavour and these flavours always shine through on the plate.”