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Top Chef rustles up meal from Islington’s rubbish

Michelin-star chef Alfred Prasad cooks with volunteers at FoodCycle Michelin-star chef Alfred Prasad cooks with volunteers at FoodCycle

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
6:24 AM

A Michelin-star chef joined volunteers to use wasted food to cook up a delicious meal for vulnerable people.

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Alfred Prasad, executive chef of top restaurant Tamarind, in Mayfair, was inspired when he heard of the work of FoodCycle, an Islington charity that reuses surplus food going to waste.

Using ingredients donated by local food outlets which would otherwise go in the bin, Mr Prasad went to the charity’s centre in Southwood Smith Street, Islington, on Wednesday to help concoct a delectable menu for those in need of a meal.

Mr Prasad said: “I am very proud to partner with FoodCycle and help promote their fantastic work on the ground. I love their message that food poverty and food wastage should simply not co-exist.”

He added: “I also admire their efforts in creating communities for their beneficiaries. Many of these vulnerable people seek not just food but dignity and companionship and they do a great job of making them feel included.”

Christina Georgallou, 23, a volunteer team leader at Foodcycle, worked alongside Chef Prasad cooking the meal.

She said: “Usually we encourage volunteers to use their imagination when cooking with these ingredients but with Alfred there we stood back and let him run the show.”

Under the Chef’s expert instruction the team cooked up a meal of cream of Islington tomato soup and a potato and green bean curry, followed by a hearty bread and butter pudding.

Ms Georgallou said: “You should have heard the chopping in the kitchen. It was a privilege to have such a talented chef with us and he was so humble.”

She added: “An enjoyable time was had all round. It was a really happy event and wonderful to have such a strong turnout.”

Relying on wasted food is not always without difficulty, Ms Georgallou added

“We have no idea what we are going to be given but there is always such a large amount and variety,” she said. “Once we had 40 bags of spinach, which made it a challenge to avoid spinach for dessert.

“Our ethos is not to waste anything at all.”

“In London people live in poverty so close to people with so much food, especially in Islington. It is so often table etiquette that decides whether food is wasted – it’s sickening really. It’s something that shouldn’t happen but it does, more education about food wastage is so important.”

Currently nearly a third of food is wasted in the UK every year. If you would like to volunteer with FoodCycle or for more information on preventing food waste, visit: http://foodcycle.org.uk/

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