Local Food Economy

Kate’s Kitchen: Food that is good for your taste buds, tummy, wallet and planet

By Kate Ploughman

Kate Ploughman explains the steps local catering company Kate’s Kitchen takes to be as sustainable as possible in the blog post below, hopefully proving a great example for others to follow!

I set up Kate’s Kitchen in 2007 to offer top quality catering, regardless of an event’s location or scale. My passion for food has been passed down the generations – my grandmother was well-trained in farmhouse cooking, and my mother grew fruit and veg at home.

I’ve worked as a chef in top bistros and restaurants in Bristol – and as far afield as New Zealand. As I became more experienced, I became convinced that cost-effective catering could recreate food on a par with top class restaurants, while at the same time considering the impact on the environment.

I’m really pleased that we can contribute to Bristol’s Going for Gold bid by showing that it’s possible to offer quality catering, carefully considering its environmental footprint. The bid has also caused us to look again at our own practices, as there’s always room for improvement! Here are some of the simple and effective steps we take at Kate’s Kitchen:

Sourcing local, organic produce and cooking with the seasons

By buying locally and organic whenever possible, and cooking with the seasons, we can reduce the food miles of our business, help protect our soils and develop closer relationships with local suppliers in order to source the best products. We do this by:

  • Creating menus based on the season
  • Meeting and having a relationship with all our local suppliers
  • Ensuring all our meat is free-range and local
  • Buying organic produce when possible
  • Sourcing as much of the produce we use as possible from local suppliers

Encouraging a vegetarian diet

We believe a lot of people are currently eating too much meat, which is having a negative impact on the environment. To try and encourage a vegetarian diet, we:

  • Offer a 10% discount if all veggie or vegan menu options are selected
  • Ensure half of our offerings are veggie or vegan
  • Add pulses, lentils and vegetables to our meat dishes to reduce meat consumption
  • We now have no beef on our menus!

Reducing food waste

Food waste is a huge problem in the catering sector, but there are lots of ways to tackle this. We:

  • Educate and train kitchen staff on what can be reused
  • Redistribute surplus food to homeless charities, or use a great new food waste app TooGoodToGo
  • Put any food that cannot be consumed into our food waste recycling, which is used to generate renewable energy

Reducing other waste

Packaging is also a big challenge for caterers, and we try hard to reduce the single-use products we use. We do this by:

  • Offering clients reusable containers rather than cling film as much as possible
  • Talking to our suppliers to ensure they use minimal packaging
  • Using Rice Husk mugs and getting rid of single-use coffee cups
  • We use palm plates for our disposable packaging (only when essentially needed or asked for)

Join the conversation

So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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