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Review: 'Rubbish Cooks' at Parker's Tavern, Cambridge

A new charitable supper club by chef Tristan Welch, with a focus on food waste, launched on Monday, September 30.

Tristan Welch talks about Rubbish Cooks, Parker's Tavern. Picture: Keith Heppell
Tristan Welch talks about Rubbish Cooks, Parker's Tavern. Picture: Keith Heppell

Rubbish Cooks is the brainchild of Tristan Welch, chef director at Parker’s Tavern, designed to inspire and educate regarding food waste in the industry.

A major concern of many restaurants and food production companies across the country, Tristan’s new monthly supper club will invite Parker’s Tavern diners to enjoy a ‘free’ three-course menu using ingredients that are usually considered ‘waste’.

At each Rubbish Cooks event, Parker’s Tavern will be serving a meal for a limited number of guests for ‘free’.

Guests will only pay £20 per head which will cover service as well as a charitable donation to Jimmy’s Night Shelter, a local Cambridge-based charity close to Tristan’s heart.

The menu on Monday (September 30), began with ravioli of brown artichokes, extra mature cheese with under ripe tomato salsa.

Highlighting the fact that he was using food that some people may have thrown away, Tristan announced that the cheddar was "past its sell-by-date but not it's use-by-date."

The dish was really quite tasty, although I left what I believed to be the yellow tomatoes as I'm not a huge fan.

Artichokes (18288309)
Artichokes (18288309)

I'm also not really a fan of fish so was a little apprehensive about the fish soup, cheeks and collars with dented tin beans, but in fact I very much enjoyed it - the beans giving it at an extra 'kick'.

Next up, was lamb shoulder knuckle with braised baby cabbage and crushed wonky vegetables.

"Low and slow" was the way Tristan described the cooking of the lamb and, although lamb isn't my favourite meat, it did have a pleasant taste to it.

The wonky vegetables - a great concept, highlighting the fact that food shouldn't get so easily discarded - were good too.

Lamb (18288303)
Lamb (18288303)

Finally, came the pudding - peach pie with ginger bread ice cream - which, for me, was the standout dish on the menu, largely thanks to the amazing ice cream.

Peach pie (18288301)
Peach pie (18288301)

We were then served delightful coconut and chocolate petit fours as we sipped on our coffee and reflected both on the meal and on the concept.

Tristan explained that people will often, for example, take the shiniest fruit and the un-dented tin, leaving behind food that is perfectly edible.

He said that he and his team had had a lot of fun in the kitchen that day trying to find things to use on the menu.

The Rubbish Cooks supper clubs will take place on the last Monday of every month and Tristan will be focusing on wasted, unwanted and wonky vegetables, fruits, seeds and pulses, as well as the classically disregarded parts of fish and meat.

The innovative menus will be crafted using ingredients that are typically overlooked.

Rubbish Cooks will run on the last Monday of each month from now on. Guests can pre-book via email only on enquiries@parkerstavern.com. Guests will be charged £20 per-head for a three-course set menu, £5 of which will be donated to Jimmy’s Night Shelter.

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