Young chefs seek environmental favour in cooking contest

01 October 2012

Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this – young gourmets will be put through their paces in a MasterChef-style contest which focuses on making the most of kitchen leftovers.

The pupils at Brooke Weston Academy in Corby will aim to impress the judges in the competition which has been organised by the Northamptonshire Waste Education Team.

A total of 18 pupils will sweat it out over the hob at the event on Tuesday October 9, with winners announced at a school assembly the following day.

The initiative is part of the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign which aims to demonstrate how much food householders throw away and, more importantly, how they can reduce this amount.

Cllr Ben Smith, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for environment said: “This is about all of us changing our behaviour to make sure that we cut down on the amount of food that is wasted.

“By taking simple measures like planning for meals in advance and using leftovers to make tasty snacks we can cut down on the amount of food waste that goes straight in our bins or for food waste disposal.

“This is good news for the environment as we’re taking active steps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. However, another bonus is that, in these tough economic times, taking these simple measures can also be a great way of saving money.”

Trish Stringer, Head of Brooke Weston Academy, said: “I am so pleased that the students here at Brooke Weston have the opportunity to be involved in this competition, working on their culinary skills whilst considering these important environmental issues.”

Corby Borough Council’s Lead Member for Environment, Cllr Peter McEwan, said: “Whilst we offer a food waste collection in Corby, which has helped to raise the Borough’s recycling figure from 46% to 61%, the most environmentally friendly way forward is to work towards reducing our food waste altogether.

“I’m very pleased that this is the message local pupils are trying to promote through this campaign and I wish them all the best in their cook-off.”

An estimated 8.3 million tonnes of food goes to landfill every year in the UK, which amounts to about one third of food bought in the shops.

Not only is throwing away good food a waste of money, rotting food in landfill produces greenhouse gases that contribute significantly to climate change. Research suggests that if we stopped wasting food it would have the same environmental benefit as taking one in four cars off the road.

The campaign gives tips on how to cut down waste by measures, such as:

  • Preparing for the week ahead by making a meal plan and writing a shopping list will save money.
  • Measuring out difficult to estimate portions like dried pasta and rice will reduce overcooking.
  • Use up what is short dated and incorporate key ingredients into meal plans.
  • Store food sensibly to maximise its life. Keep fresh fruit and veg in the fridge and freeze meat and fish before they reach their best before date.
  • Cook once and eat twice by making a large family meal such a lasagne and freezing half for another day. Similarly turn leftovers into a brand new meal, for example using cooked veg in a tasty soup.

For more information go to: www.slimyourbinatschool.co.uk or www.lovefoodhatewaste.com


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