Approx 600 words.

Eco-chef, food-waste activist and star of the ‘Family value’ feature in our May/June magazine, Tom Hunt explains his sustainable approach to cooking and why root to fruit eating is the new way to cut down on food waste.

To me, food is community. And while that starts around the family table, I think it extends to the farmers and producers who make what we eat, too. For the last 20 years, food has been my life. I’ve worked with chefs, farmers, academics, charities and nutritionists all around the world, learning about food sustainability.

What is root to fruit cooking?

Over the last 10 years, I’ve been developing a food sustainability philosophy called root to fruit eating. Root to fruit means: eating for pleasure, eating whole foods from the whole farm, whilst eating the best food we can and indulging in seasonal foods that are tasty, nutritious and inherently restorative for ourselves and the planet.

Root to fruit eating has three key principles:

  1. Eating for pleasure
  2. Eating whole foods
  3. Eating the best food you can

A sustainable approach to cooking

Today, I take pride in shopping locally and seasonally — rearing animals has helped me to respect the value of food, and harvesting my own veggies drummed in the basic (yet often forgotten) principle that produce should be seasonal and come from the soil where possible.

My family’s meals follow the root to fruit philosophy, so we eat lots of whole foods and mostly plants. Our two-year-old daughter, LJ, eats what we eat; for that reason, we don’t salt our food. Biodiversity is a really important part of a sustainable diet, so we eat a lot of different types of plant. A typical weeknight meal would be roasting a big tray of veggies to have with some short grain brown riceand chick peas — super-simple!

Food should be good, clean and fair for everyone. Check out some of my favourite recipes for helping to eliminate food waste and get creative with seasonal veggies.

Not avocado on toast

Who needs avo on toast when you’ve got homegrown broad beans? When blended, they become creamy, unctuous and vivid green, just like avocado. This is made the same way as regular guacamole, but with the beans instead. Enjoy!

A swede pretending to be a ham

Swede is scrumptious roasted whole. However, the coating here makes it irresistible. This dish makes a great centrepiece for any table. I love it cold the next day, too, sandwiched between two thick slices of bread, with extra mustard and plenty of watercress. The recipe works equally well with a whole celeriac.

Chargrilled sprouting broccoli and clementines

I’ve maximised the flavour of the broccoli by chargrilling it, then serving with grilled clementines, cardamom and chilli flakes. It sounds pretty out-there, but really works.

Harissa chick pea scramble

This is a plant-rich version of scrambled eggs, made using ‘besan’ (chick-pea flour) instead of eggs. The chick peas, batter, spices and tomatoes are all fried together to form a grand mess — brunch heaven!

Grilled courgette, radicchio, olive and  butter bean salad

Butter beans are a welcome addition to this fresh salad. Creamy, sweet, unctuous and satisfying, they work well in combination with the more bitter flavours from the courgettes and leaves. I highly recommend cooking your own beans and pulses from scratch. Basing your weekly meals around them is a game changer in terms of health, affordability and sustainability, helping you to avoid unnecessary packaging, additives and costs.

Read the full feature with Tom online in our May/June magazine along with plenty more recipe inspiration to ease you into summer! 

Tom Hunt
Tom’s Feast

Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. Your not taking my offers off when I make order and type in membership number

    Reply
  2. Most people’s digestion is adapted for the process of eating meat, so that is a good indication it is part of our natural human physical processes.
    Some people of religious faith accept you can eat meat, as long as you slaughter the animals in a certain way.
    Hope they will print some more recipes soon, with and without meat.

    Reply
  3. No, it’s the unnecessary cruelty to other animals that saddens me.
    Just that.
    But I suspect there’ll be no reasoning with you, Mr Voice.

    Reply
    • You’re up early for a Sunday, hope you’re not just still awake from a eurovision song contest party last night.
      Hope you enjoy the recipes, I’m going to try the ‘not avocados on toast’ when I can get some frozen broad beans. I’m always looking out for some new/old ideas and think this will make a change from my standby peanut butter and banana on toast.

      Reply
    • Oh be quiet Karen

      Reply
  4. Let us know if you give it a try Barbara! ^Cat

    Reply
  5. I can’t wait for winter to try the swede (‘neep’ up here in NE Scotland) recipe. I accidentally did something similar last year by leaving it in the oven too long , lol, and was amazed how the flavour changed and as you say, how good it was cold.
    Also love the idea re the Not avocado – I often look longingly thinking of the airmiles and the challenges of getting avocados that are ripened sufficienlty to have any flavour ata ll, so this looks like a good alternative.
    Thanks !

    Reply
  6. Looked at the recipe for chargrilled sprouting broccoli and clementines. Not sure this comes under the ‘principle that produce should be seasonal and come from the soil where possible’ since clementines are usually considered seasonal from October to January and the sprouting broccoli from January to April. I suppose the broccoli could be sourced from other countries (like the clementines will have to be anyway), but this is only increasing air miles.

    Reply
  7. I decided to print off the ‘not avocado on toast’ recipe, but decided against it since it involved 3 pages, including many large colour pictures of food. If you are going to have a print option, someone needs to make it ‘printer friendly’. Using unnecessary amounts of printer cartridge ink ( in particular) and paper is the opposite of being environmentally friendly which the co op claims to be and is expensive for the person printing it.

    Reply
  8. What a load of rubbish ! We are carnivores, and I like meat !!!

    Reply
    • Good for you, Nick.
      On the off-chance you pick your nose, could you tell us about that as well.
      It would be equally of interest.
      Obviously you don’t hold to “Live and let Live” when it comes to other animals but how about applying it to fellow humans and their dietary choices.
      Every journey begins with a small step.

      Reply
      • Unfortunately, not many cattle, pigs and sheep would live if everyone becomes a vegetarian. There would also be a further decline in cattle if people become vegans. Not many people want these animals as pets and if there’s a serious reduction in their usefulness as food, there won’t be any reason to let them live at all.

        Reply
        • Dear me!
          You mean when we unnaturally over breed them, keep them in disgusting conditions (don’t pretend we don’t, we do) feed them unnatural diets and pump them full of hormones etc., just to overfatten them for market. then take them, crammed into wagons & ships to be killed at a tender young age and then their bodies chopped up just because we like their taste, they should be grateful because if we didn’t there’d be no reason to “let them live”.
          And you self style yourself as the “Voice of Reason”.
          Humans, eh? What a bunch.

          Reply
          • Anonymous,
            Is your real name Marvin the paranoid robot ? when I read your comments I can just imagine it read in his voice.
            Chill out and eat some meat, all that vegetable goodness is making you miserable.

            Reply
            • No, it’s the unnecessary cruelty to other animals that saddens me.
              Just that.
              But I suspect there’ll be no reasoning with you, Mr Voice.

              Reply
    • If you read Genesis 1:29 Then Gid said, “Behold I have given you every seed – bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food…
      We are not meant to eat meat unless there is shortage and God for that gave us permission to eat fish or meat.

      Reply
      • Most people’s digestion is adapted for the process of eating meat, so that is a good indication it is part of our natural human physical processes.
        Some people of religious faith accept you can eat meat, as long as you slaughter the animals in a certain way.
        Hope they will print some more recipes soon, with and without meat.

        Reply

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