Couple serve the first ‘food waste wedding’ feast

During Charlotte and Nick Baker’s wedding planning process, they wanted to create a highly personal celebration which reflected their principles about minimising waste.

Unconventionally, they decided to ask food waste companies and charities to feed their 135 guests a three-course meal including nothing but food that’s been thrown away.

Charlotte, 30, a urology registrar who lives with her GP husband in Inverness said, “I didn’t even know until the day before what we were going to eat,”

“Then I was told that a load of frozen chicken had turned up, along with trayfuls of soft fruit rejected by supermarkets.”

According to the bride, the chicken breasts still had three to four days left on their best before date, even though the wholesaler had been struggling to sell them. The Baker’s feast included the chicken breasts which were cooked with white wine and mushrooms as a main course-alongside a vegetarian chilli and rice. The berries were featured in a beautiful fruit salad which was topped with clotted cream. The berries were about to be thrown in the bin before the couple grabbed them. They were being thrown to waste due to a couple of punnets being slightly squashed and mouldy. The starter was a platter of cheeses and cold meats.

The couple received this food after contacting the Real Junk Food Café in Wigan, which intercepts food which is still fit for human consumption but heading for landfill. The café has the slogan, “feed bellies, not bins”.

“We’d never catered for a wedding before and I had a few sleepless nights wondering exactly what food would come in,” explains Shirley Southwood, who with partner Ann Fairhurst founded the cafe two years ago. Shirley quickly agreed to the commission for the UK’s first “food waste wedding”. This was even though she had to drive an hour and a half to the wedding venue in the Cumbrian fields of Hawkshead.

Charlotte has stated that they didn’t decide to do this in order to save money, “The ethos of the day, and our lives together, is that of an ethical foundation. We are aware that weddings can be an opportunity for obscene over-expense and excess and we decided to minimise our contribution to this trend.”

Additionally, the couple scrapped a traditional wedding list. Instead, they drew up a “gift suggestion list”. The list was to encourage guests to donate second-hand or home-made items. “We wouldn’t have done anything differently and we would encourage others to think about using surplus food in this way” says Charlotte.

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