Welcome to the new side of StorrCupboard. Still food waste, still me but some wider sides of the story.

On Monday 20th May, I was the very happy guest of the Sustainable Restaurant Association at the launch of their new #foodwastebadwaste campaign. Can you imagine why I was interested? The room was packed, it was hot, and, for a Monday morning, the audience were engaged and excited to talk waste reduction. I know! I talked bin collection and data. Heaven.

SRA: Who dat?

Unless you’re in hospitality or sustainability, chances are you won’t have heard of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. A non-profit, The SRA helps restaurants, cafes and bars to improve their sustainability (yes, the clue is in the name). This doesn’t just mean your local café banning plastic straws and coffee cup lids; we’re talking Pizza Hut, Wetherspoons and Nandos, along with smaller and (yes) more gorgeous places like Petersham Nurseries and Daylesford Organics. It means proving that sustainable choices can be positive economic choices. It’s change from small to large, influencing decisions and creating a more sustainable food system.

Their new initiative gives organisations a tool-kit to make cutting food waste simple and measurable. It will help businesses to reduce waste and save money. But what sort of solutions are needed? Surely canny chefs are amazing at not wasting anything, right?

Ben Elliott, Food Waste Czar & Guru

Cut the cheese

I am a fully paid-up member of the ‘read bread sourdough home-cooking’ brigade, so when Pizza Hut started talking I reminded my inner food snob to quiet down. I’m so glad I did. Through thankless work including looking through bins and collecting endless data, Pizza Hut has cut cheese waste in half. Half. That’s right. In half. Milk and cheese have a high carbon footprint. Reducing that amount of waste, at that scale, makes a sizeable impact.

There were smaller players, too. Hawksmoor is a high-end steak restaurant with 8 branches across the UK. Their servers are trained to take orders carefully, maybe suggesting a cut of steak that is better quality, though lower weight and therefore the same price.  So you’ll pay £27 to enjoy 200 grams of Chateaubriand rather than 300 grams of porterhouse. Your pleasure can come from better quality rather than grams in your belly.  Ordering more carefully and knowing you can add dishes to the table later is a simple way to enjoy your wonderful meal out and avoid food waste. Helping other businesses to share best practice across the sector will make for quicker and more sustainable change, through help from the SRA.

Using a smart scale to measure food waste

Your mission

Ben Elliot, the government’s food waste champion, sent us off with a mission. Each household wastes around £600-£700 a year in binned food. 10.2 million tonnes of food are wasted each year. We waste carbon enough for every 3rd car to be taken off the road. With #foodwastebadtaste rolling out to the hospitality industry, change is being made easier. Your next meal out? Don’t over-order; buy better, buy less. Make your choices count.

NOTE: I was gifted the ticket for the conference.


Crispy schmaltz mashed potato

Crispy schmaltz mashed potato

Crispy schmaltz mash potatoes

Okay, so you could eat these as a side dish. But, for me, these chicken fat rich mashed potatoes, drowned in gravy, are good enough on their own. Maybe some broccoli and peas so that the whole meal isn’t beige.  Don’t skip the rosemary, it’s heavenly, and the perfect way to use up your leftover chicken skin.


Schmaltz Mash Potatoes

Adapted, barely, from James Beard 'Waste Not', p83 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 2


For the schmaltz

  • at least 90 grams leftover chicken skin & fat

For the mash

  • 450 grams floury potatoes such as maris piper, king edwards, or 'red'
  • 50 grams butter
  • 75 ml single cream you might need more or less depending on how much chicken skin and fat you have
  • The schmaltz

To serve

  • Chicken gravy
  • One sprig of rosemary


  • Scales and bowl
  • Small saucepan with lid
  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring jug


Make the schmaltz

  • Chop up the skin and fat, and place in the saucepan. Cover with water and put on a medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook at simmering point for an hour.
  • Increase the heat to medium after an hour and continue to cook the mixture until the pieces of skin have browned. This will take around 15 minutes.
  • Strain the schmaltz; if there's any little crunchy bits at the bottom of the pan

Make the mash

  • Peel and boil the potatoes in well-salted water. They are cooked when a knife pushes into one and gives way.
  • Mash the potatoes with all the cream, all the schmaltz and all the butter.
  • Warm up the gravy, finely chop/mince the rosemary, and serve. Add some green veggies on the side, if you like, maybe a fried egg.


  • The mash will keep for up to five days.