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:
- Eating for pleasure
- Eating whole foods
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!