The Real Junk Food Manchester (RJFM) uses produce which would otherwise be thrown away by supermarkets, wholesalers and farms to cook healthy meals for the local community.
Its kitchen team is led by Mary-Ellen McTague, the former head chef at acclaimed Manchester restaurant Aumbry, whose CV includes Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and 4244 Edge Street.
The RJFM has been running pop-up events across Manchester since 2014, but now the team is aiming to raise £20,000 to run a six-month cafe near the city centre while hunting for a permanent home.
The money will also be used to design and fit a mobile kitchen that will allow the RJFM to open anywhere that has electricity and running water.
Tackling food waste
Corin Bell, director of RJFM, said: “The ultimate point of our project is that this food shouldn’t have been thrown away - there was nothing at all wrong with it.
“The best way we can think of to show how good this food is is to have two amazing chefs transform it into fantastic dishes of top restaurant quality. That’s what this restaurant will do with the help of the people of Manchester.”
The menu will be dictated by the waste food sourced by the cafe, which currently takes many of its ingredients from returned home shopping orders and unwanted supermarket produce.
All dishes are sold on a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ basis, where guests can contribute as much as they like towards the cost.
“Produce from wholesalers is often at the peak of ripeness but retailers wouldn’t buy it because it would be past it’s best the day after it reached their shelves,” said Bell.
“We have harvested a whole field of cauliflowers that were deemed the ‘wrong shade of white’ for supermarkets - this is so hard to understand when it tastes great and is packed full of nutrients.”
The RJFM has until 13 January to raise £20,000, and has so far reached just over ten per cent of its target.
For more information on the Real Junk Food Project Manchester’s crowdfunding campaign click here.