Mini masterchefs cook up feast from ‘rubbish’ food

Liam Stead, Tasnim Al-Qasem and Samara Kurien work at the Real Junk Food Cafe. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Liam Stead, Tasnim Al-Qasem and Samara Kurien work at the Real Junk Food Cafe. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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IT’S not every day that diners are prepared to stomach a load of old rubbish.

However a group of schoolchildren have put a fresh spin on fine-dining by rustling up a feast using only “waste” food.

Budding chefs from Juniper Green Primary School cooked up an impressive three-course dinner for parents and locals using food that was just about to go out of date to encourage people to reduce the amount of food they throw away.

Guests were greeted with tables burdened by homemade breads and bowls of homemade leek and potato, or carrot and coriander soups. The main event was a sausage casserole or a vegetable bake, while the little cooks had also whipped up delicious fruit flans and apple crumbles for pudding.

Kate Hunter, a P5 pupil involved in the project, said: “We are going to serve older people in the community with a three-course meal made from food that was going to be thrown away. We want to encourage people to stop wasting food and only buy what they need.”

Teaming up with the Real Junk Food Project Edinburgh, the pupils have spent months learning about sustainability and how to help their community reduce food waste. Headteacher Anthea Grierson said: “Food waste is one area that our pupils have been looking at and finding ways in which they can prevent food being thrown away.

“One simple solution has been to encourage pupils not to throw fruit from their packed lunches into the bin but to place it in a fruit bowl which others can then take from.

“Local businesses and supermarkets have also supported the children in demonstrating how junk food can be recycled and reused.

“The children were keen to have a ‘pop up cafe’ that would provide a three-course meal for parents and people in the local community to show what can be done with food that’s about to go out of date without throwing it away.”

Food was donated by Tesco Bruntsfield, Scotmid, and Charles Stamper Fruit and Veg, in Granton.

Education leader Councillor Paul Godzik said: “The evening will send a fantastic message to pupils, the future generation of recyclers, about how easy it is to do.”

The Real Junk Food Project Edinburgh is part of a wider charity which runs a UK-wide network of cafes and communities. The project, part of the wider Food for Thought Programme, collects “waste” food from supermarkets, restaurants and market stalls and provides healthy meals on a pay-as-you-feel basis.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com