Waste not, want not, is a philosophy that Shane Jordan has applied to his life and to everything in the kitchen...
When did you first become interested in cooking?
I first became interested as a child. I would watch my mother bake cakes in the kitchen and she would leave me pastry, jam and sugar to make little jam biscuits. This experience planted the seed for my creativity and my love for cooking later on in life. Preparing food as a child, and now, is a cathartic and sensory experience for me.
Why the passion for creating meals from surplus food?
I adore creativity. I believe there are many ways to do one thing and many ways to do anything. I have a passion for using my creativity and skills to create easy, tasty meals from surplus food. Surplus food is often seen as a useless by-product of food, but once you observe what you have, you can turn any edible piece of food into a great meal. When people eat my food they are really digesting my passion and hard work. I believe I have been so successful because people can see and taste the hard work and attention to detail I have given to each recipe.
What got you into FoodCycle?
I was asked to attend a community meal by a friend. It so happened that FoodCycle was in charge of the meal. After enjoying a delicious three-course meal, I saw a volunteer wearing the FoodCycle logo. From that point onwards, I became fascinated by surplus food and leftovers.
Image source: Shane Jordan
If you could get everyone to change one thing about the way they view food and cooking what would it be?
I think change is a gradual process. Change has to benefit the individual first. Once they can mentally see the benefits of this change, then they can physically implement it. My job isn’t to get anyone to change anything, but to help them see the positive benefits of slightly altering what they normally do and seeing what that does for them and their local environment.
If I could do anything, I’d like everyone to look back at World War 1 and 2, using images on the internet, and take a look at the ration books and how precious food was to the UK at that time. How it was illegal to throw away food, and see the images and posters encouraging people not to waste precious resources such as food.
When you reflect on the past it brings more light to the present. Food is readily available 24-hours a day. Free food is given to us on the street and supermarkets appear to never run out of food. If we bought what we needed, used our freezer to freeze food and used our food waste caddy, we would help ourselves and our local environment more.
Tell us a little about your book…
The Food Waste Philosophy is a book that documents my rise and my interest in food waste, vegetarianism and sustainability. It’s a reflective book that spoon-feeds enough information to allow people to make the decision to implement changes in their lifestyle. In addition, it has waste-reducing recipes, hints and tips on cooking and making food last longer, and so saving you money.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently running raw food workshops in cities across the UK. Health and wellbeing are important to me, so I hope to expand on my workshops and run raw food retreats too. Also, I hope to work with more educational outlets and encourage ways to reduce food, save money and make cooking easy and fun.
What are your top tips for reducing food waste?
- Write a list – Plan meals for a week. Check ingredients in the fridge and cupboards, then write a shopping list for just the extras.
- Stick to the list – Take the list with you and stick to it in the store. Don’t be tempted by offers and don’t shop hungry – you’ll come back with more than you need.
- Keep a healthy fridge – Check the fridge seals are good and the temperature too. Food needs to be stored between 1-5°C for maximum freshness and a longer shelf life.
- Try not to throw things away – Fruit that is just going soft can be made into smoothies or fruit pies. Vegetables that are starting to wilt can be made into soup.
- Use up leftovers – Don’t bin them, why not use them for tomorrow’s ingredients?
- Stock rotation – When you buy new food, bring the older items in cupboards and the fridge to the front, put new food at the back.
- Serve small amounts – Keep servings small – everyone can come back for more. It’s especially helpful for children, who rarely estimate how much they can eat. Store leftovers in the fridge to use another day.
- Buy what you need – Buy loose fruits and veg instead of pre-packed, so you buy the amount you need.
- Freeze food – If you only eat a little bread, freeze it when you get home and take out slices a couple of hours before needed.
- Compost – Some food waste is unavoidable, so why not set up a compost bin for fruit and vegetable peelings? In a few months, you will end up with rich, valuable compost fertiliser for your plants. If you have cooked food waste, then use a caddy bin.
Inspired to cut down on your waste?
Here are our top tips to help you fight food waste…