Words Amicia de Moubray Photographs Wasted Kitchen
Keen foodies amongst you will have probably spotted delicious looking comestibles being sold under the Wasted Food label in Macknade, or further afield in the Goods Shed, Canterbury and Whitstable Produce. Set up just over a year ago by Katy Cox, better known as the maker and purveyor of Mighty Fine Things (See article in Faversham Life archive under Food), Wasted Food is a brilliant concept and set to be a winner. Imaginative salads, quiches, frittatas, brownies and even vegan peanut butter cups are just a few of the extensive range of foodstuffs on offer.
The idea was ‘to show people how to use the range of vinegars and mustards made by Mighty Fine Things,’ explains Katy. Ever resourceful, she asked Stefano Cuomo of Macknade why didn’t he sell ‘food to go’? At this point the story gets better and better. Next she asked if she could use the produce that was damaged, for example broken carrots, unsaleable but still eminently edible. Bingo, Wasted Kitchen was born.
‘We use oddly shaped vegetables as well as salvaging battered produce. For example, we discard the tired outer leaves of a cabbage but use the edible centre.’ Local suppliers include local farmer David Simmons of the much loved fruit and vegetable stall in the Faversham Market and eggs from the Pastured Hen. Sometimes vegetables just get left on their doorstep. Katy is keen to emphasise that she pays growers/retailers a fair price for the surplus that they have. ‘We want to see a food chain in which all the links are paid fairly and the end product is given the respect it deserves, be that a carrot or a humble tub of humus,’ says Katy Smith Plimley of Wasted Kitchen. Obviously, the ingredients vary from week to week, determining the range of salads on offer. For instance, this week’s choices include Raw Asian salad with a lime, sesame and peanut dressing, leek and caramelised onion couscous with lemon and broccoli and pea and basil pesto orzo salad. There are two weekly staples – herby coleslaw and celeriac remoulade. ‘I thought the remoulade would be a hard sell but it is surprisingly popular. It is an excellent showcase for our Kent mustard.’
Bakes, as Katy calls them, are also available each week and include brownies (suitable for vegans), quiches, sausage rolls and many other delectable goodies. A new very much in-vogue line Katy is experimenting with is fermenting vegetables such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kim-kraut.
‘We have to be able to look at five kilos of a particular vegetable and think what can we make with that.’ Katy acknowledges it is a skill not everyone has. Her love of food stems back to her childhood and cooking with both sets of her grandparents. She draws on the Indian and West Indian cuisines popular in Handsworth, Birmingham, where one set of grandparents lived. The other grandparents cooked traditional English fare such as custards from scratch or lemon meringue pie. She also influenced by her travels in Australia and New Zealand.
Passionate about getting children to cook, Katy recently held a very successful In a Pickle event, teaching children to make pickles. This weekend she is running kids’ food workshops as part of the Faversham Food Festival in conjunction with new Faversham resident Jane Beedle (famous for being a finalist in the Great British Bake Off) (www.ticketsource.co.uk/kidsfoodworkshopsfor children at the Abbey Physic Garden).
Last weekend Katy spoke at the first Eat, Drink, Margate food festival on the many benefits of eating local and was on a panel to discuss sustainability in the food industry.
The Wasted Kitchen HQ is next to Farm Work Play (see Faversham Life article) where they have a captive market in both the lucky children in the nursery, and those hot desking in the offices. A favourite with the hot deskers are Kento Bento boxes, a mouth-watering assortment of dips and salads in compostable kraft brown boxes. These are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8.30am straight from the kitchen. By October Katy is aiming to be able to sell lunch boxes straight from her premises on a daily basis from 8.30am.
All Wasted Kitchen food has a five-day shelf life. Macknade stocks the Breakfast Pots of Bircher-style muesli soaked in local fruit juice with Greek yoghurt, topped with seasonal fruit compote and seeds – ideal for commuters. I recently took a selection of salads on a long train journey to Glasgow. Needless to say my lunch was the envy of all those sitting around me.
Wasted Kitchen delivers to homes and offices in Canterbury, Whitstable and Faversham every Tuesday morning. Click the link: linktr.ee/mightyfinethings to subscribe to the weekly menu.
Go on, pick up a box or two, you won’t be disappointed.
Text: Amicia de Moubray. Photographs: Wasted Kitchen