Wedding time!

It’s August, it’s wedding season. Thousands of couples around the country are putting together final seating plans, and getting ready to walk down the aisle.

Yesterday, team REfUSE joined the season in style: catering for the wedding of Sarah and Jack in Belmont, Durham. Caramelised onion, mushroom and feta tarts on a mezze sharing platter to start, followed by paella (vegan or meat), and a scrumptious chocolate brownie, blueberry and cream pot for pudding. 95% of what we served was made using food that would otherwise have been wasted. The meal was served by our most loyal volunteers, and we are pleased to be able to pay them for their work. We’re so thankful to Sarah and Jack for supporting and trusting us on their big day, hope they had a fantastic time and wish them every blessing for married life together.

The response to Kim and Dan’s wedding in April 2015, the North East’s first food waste wedding, was incredible, we were amazed at the national media attention we got. Who would have thought we’d be here two years later doing our fourth! Our message is about reassigning value to food which has been considered worthless, so to be able to cater for such a special occasion as a wedding breakfast is powerful in showing just how valuable it is. It’s always a challenge when you don’t know what food you’ll collect until the last few days before the event: it’s a bit ready-steady-cook, and pressure is on for a wedding! But we get the best people who know their vegan pastry and chocolate ganache like the back of their hands, and we’re also getting really good at thinking on our feet!

Look up #foodwaste wedding on Instagram and Twitter to follow some of the fun we had.

Zero waste catering??

Wedding catering is a hugely wasteful business. The guardian published research from Sainsbury’s (who knew Sainsbury’s is now a research body?!) that a tenth of all wedding food is thrown away. To some extent, we can understand: REfUSE regularly caters for large crowds and it is a challenge to please everyone and get the quantities right. We always take containers for guests and volunteers to take away any leftovers, and we try and work by a policy that says “it is just as embarrassing/wrong to have too much food as it is to have too little”. But this is a difficult concept to live by, guests don’t really sympathise with food waste ethics when they are hungry and there’s no food left.

But we are determined to keep on working to show that there could be such thing as a zero waste catering company. In fact, we’d like to start a catering company, here in the North East. Feeding into REfUSE, but separate from it, not only using food waste but locally sourced, ethical ingredients, employing local people.

Can you help us?? Chef or background in catering? Know your fermentation, pickling and vegetable peel broth? Want to join our discussion and help us start up? Get in touch, we’d love to chat.