Market-leading events caterer and restaurateur Searcys is ensuring sustainability is at the heart of its business with the announcement of company-wide menu waste management targets across its venues. Catering for conferences, events and private parties, Searcys’ has introduced a new set of menu planning procedures, with the hope of reducing food and packaging waste by 20%.
The driving principles of good procurement and menu planning are key to reducing food waste. Across all venues, Searcys’ chefs continue to use local, seasonal produce to create delicious menus for events and parties, while aiming to reduce waste by utilising as much of an ingredient as possible.
The new low waste Harvest menu, developed in time for the busy autumn events season, is available for conferences and events in selected Searcys venues. This encompasses these aims with zero waste hero dishes, including Beetroot barley risotto, roast roots, beetroot leaf salad and rapeseed dressing, which uses all parts of the autumnal beetroot, from root to stem, by serving it three ways. Sustainably sourced crab also features in the Crab and leek tart, foraged leaves and salad cream, a dish which reduces waste by using both brown and white crab meat (rated good by MSC Good Fish Guide) as well as British leeks, free-range eggs and wholemeal milled flour.
Alongside the menu, Searcys chefs are also encouraged to order produce daily and reduce stock holding for perishable food. Also, where it is safe, leftovers will be repurposed: coffee grounds turned into compost, jams and relishes will be made with fruits or vegetables soon to expire and leftover bread will be transformed into salad croutons.
In 2018, Searcys announced a set of sustainability pledges, which were expanded in 2019 to incorporate 24 commitments to sustainable practices. These ensured that 90% of all fruit and vegetables used in the menus are grown in the UK, all tea and coffee is Fairtrade or Direct impact, and all meat is UK-reared from Red Tractor certified farms. Since the implementation of these pledges, Searcys has received an impressive Two Star “Food Made Good” rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Darren Deadman, Searcys’ chef director commented: “With a buoyant events market, we feel it is our responsibility to reduce our food and packaging waste across Searcys, to make sure we can be as sustainable and waste-free as possible. To assist with this, we have established a list of simple, manageable steps for our chefs, which we hope will help make the task of reducing waste a realistic objective.”