In February/March 2019 three of our restaurants participated in Cambridge Sustainable Food‘s #tastenotwaste programme. Over a period of three days the restaurants separated their plate waste, prep waste and spoilage waste, and weighed each bin at the end of the day. With support from Cambridge Sustainable Food we were able to trial some tweaks to the way we do things such as an option for half portion fries, checking with the customer if they’d like slaw and pickles, rather than serving all meals with them as default. At The Tickell Arms we’ve also amped up our in-house composting efforts to produce more compost to feed our garden in the months and years to come. Having implemented some changes we weighed the bins again over three days to get an insight into the impact of the changes made and ideas for future food waste reducing measures.
Engaging our chefs in the issues around sustainability is key to us becoming a more sustainable restaurant group. In February 2019 we held a chef competition as part of Cambridge Sustainable Food‘s #vegcitiescambridge campaign. The competition took place at Infusions ICE kitchen in Bury St Edmund’s with judges Lee Cooper (Infusions), George Allan (CDC Events) and Gemma Birley (Cambridge Sustainable Food.) Teams of two had the opportunity to devise a vegetarian/vegan main course and a vegan dessert. Winners, George Dawkins & Reece Alderson (The Tickell Arms), wowed us with their ‘Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Cherry Textures.’ Runners up, Gemma Steele and Holly Silk, also impressed us with their ‘Sweet Potato Gnocchi’ main course. Both dishes will be featured on their restaurant’s spring menus.
In June 2018 we held our first chef competition targeted at reducing food waste. The competition took place at Infusions ICE kitchen in Bury St Edmund’s. Five teams of two were presented with a selection of off cuts and B class ingredients and the challenge to create two courses in only two hours. All the finished dishes were of a high standard but the judges chose Freddie Walshe’s ‘Devilled Liver & Kidneys with Wild Mushrooms & Crispy Oats’ as the winner. The dish has since been on the menu at The Tickell Arms.
KIDS VEG OUT
We have been working with Cambridge Sustainable Food on the #vegcitiescambridge campaign. Our focus has been on improving children’s menus in all our sites to include at the very least 2 portions of veg. Some of the changes we’ve implemented include:
– raw veg pots at the beginning of every meal
– swapping fries/chips for sweet potato wedges/ vegetable mash
– serving more green vegetables as part of each meal
– banana & soy milk smoothie instead of milkshake
– fresh fruit option for pudding
– free fruit bowl for kids at the weekends, half terms and school holidays
– vegetable word searches and colouring in on the menus
To gather some honest feedback on the changes we’ve made and how we can do better, KIDS EAT FREE at all our restaurants during February half term (18th – 24th February 2019.) For children aged 12 or under when accompanied by an adult ordering a main meal. Two children eat free per adult ordering a main course. Browse our updated children’s menus here:
The Cock, Hemingford Grey | The Tickell Arms, Whittlesford
The Crown & Punchbowl, Horningsea | The Three Horseshoes, Madingley
The Cambridge Chop House | The St John’s Chop House
MillWorks | SmokeWorks (Free School Lane & Station Road)
WHAT WE DID IN 2018...
For a quick recap of our efforts in 2018 to become a more sustainable restaurant group, please see our video on YouTube.
At Cambscuisine we have made a commitment to only serving sustainable fish on our menus. We have carefully chosen our supplier, Marrfish, based on their commitment to sustainable fishery.
All our restaurants only serve fish rated 1-3 in the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Good Fish Guide.’
As a restaurant group we serve a lot of coffee, and we drink our fair share of it too! We’re delighted to have found Bio-bean, an award-winning clean energy company who collect all our waste coffee grounds and turn them into bio fuels such as coffee logs, biomass pellets, biodiesel and biochemicals.
These second-generation fuels don’t take up any land or contribute emissions associated with land-use change. Instead, they’re made of a waste destined for landfill – so it’s a double saving, environmentally speaking. Furthermore they produce 60% less CO2 than sending the waste to landfill and they’re made locally at Bio-bean’s factory in St Ives.
We have implemented a straw policy to reduce the amount of single-use straws used in our restaurants:
– We only give a straw when the drink really needs one (or when requested by the customer)
– We no longer use single-use plastic stirrers
– We use predominantly paper straws instead of plastic. These go into our food waste bins and are mulched down into fertiliser/compost.
Whilst looking at plastic straws we were also able to make some small tweaks to our other non-consumables to reduce consumption or increase recycling. This is something we continue to look at and welcome your feedback and suggestions.
Growing Our Own
At The Tickell Arms in Whittlesford we’ve redesigned our gardens to enable us to grow some of our own produce and promote biodiversity at the same time. The team have installed hand-made bench planters, a natural willow gate separating the garden from the compost area, a fruit cage, bird and bat boxes and even a ‘bug hotel’ – sure to capture children’s imaginations!
We grow all sorts of herbs, rhubarb, berries and currants, rainbow chard, lettuces, fennel and we have a quince tree. These are frequently used in spring and summer as garnishes on special dishes.