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squaremeal.co.uk � 63

RESTAURANTS + FOOD

"Hemsley e­ect" - that is, sisters Jasmine

and Melissa selling 140,000 copies of their

book �e Art of Eating Well in 2015 - made

it acceptable to "spiralise" courgettes.

Nutritionist Rob Hobson believes this

shift towards healthier eating means that

root-to-stem could go mainstream.

Hobson notes the "huge increase" in

plant-based and vegan diets, "and it sits

within that. As it was taking o­ in the US,

I thought it was something that could get

picked up here - even though, really, chefs

have done this forever." He continues, "I

saw pop-ups starting to adopt root-tostem,

and this chef Tara Duggan, who was

doing lots of adventurous stu­, pickling

beetroot roots to make chutneys, using

carrot tops to make pesto and watermelon

rind to make pickles."

On the whole it's great, believes

Hobson, "not necessarily from a

nutritional perspective but because we

all waste too much food". But he accepts

that "you've got to be into cooking to do

[it]… I do to a degree, and I would save my

butternut squash seeds or put green stalks

in my juicer - but I'd have to be motivated

to make watermelon rind pickle".

BURNING ENERGY

"Root-to-stem throws up useful discussion

points around food waste," states Jackson

Boxer, chef at Brunswick House, but

there's also an argument for not polishing

o­ entire vegetables: "Someone like Dan

Barber [the New York chef-activist] has

been in™uential in reconsidering how

wasteful our assumptions about cuisine

are… but what I found was that you go

to an enormous amount of work - a lot of

braising and processing - to make, say,

the spine of a kale leaf edible. So is this

actually an e­ective use of energy?"

Instead, Boxer wants more restaurants

to understand composting as "there is a

huge amount that restaurants can feed

back into the food chain". Indeed, soon his

team will begin sending kitchen vegetable

waste to their farmer in

West Sussex.

Dan Cox is executive

head chef at Simon

Rogan's restaurant Fera at

Claridge's and the person

responsible for starting

the Cumbrian farm that's

attached to Rogan's

L'Enclume restaurant. He explains that

his kitchen team aim to incorporate

"everything we can into dishes… because

if you've grown your vegetables, especially

in a natural, considered way, you don't

want to waste them."

While root-to-stem is the obvious

choice for some, there is plenty of

discussion still to be had before we see

watermelon rind pickle as a menu staple.

COMING SOON TO

A PLATE NEAR YOU...

1

Broad bean tops - served with

butterbean hummus, anchovies

and sourdough

Poco in Broadway Market

2

Potato leaf crackers - served with

tarama and salmon roe

Mirror Room at the Rosewood London

3

Alexander buds - with soft roasted

fennel, crunchy pear and apple

Gauthier Soho

4

Turnip and tops - served with

caramelised cabbage and roast

chicory with dill

Fera at Claridge's

5

Chervil root - served with duck,

rhubarb and black cabbage

Kitty Fisher's

part of an animal, and others Ÿrmly

believing that vegetable leftovers are not

all worth eating.

According to various luminaries of

London's restaurant scene, cooking all

parts of a vegetable is something chefs

have always done. For Alexis Gauthier,

chef-patron of Gauthier Soho, "the rootto-stem

phenomenon has been happening

for years but has just never had a name".

He looks back to Alice Waters at Chez

Panisse in California, or the River Café in

1989. "ey would serve a tomato just as

it was, because it was the best way to use

the product," he explains. "And at Eleven

Madison Park in New York, a famous

dish is tartare of carrot, where they grind

the entire carrot in front of you, which

encapsulates the root-to-stem spirit. So for

me it's nothing new, but it's nice that more

people are looking into it. It's sure to get

bigger," he adds.

TASTE OR TRASH?

Other London chefs say that innovative

ways to use up vegetables both celebrates

what they have and keeps waste levels low.

For Bruno Loubet, these principles have

guided him since opening Grain Store in

2013. He uses cherry ™owers in syrups

and salads, as well as salting and adding

vinegar to green elderberry buds.

At Rosewood London's

Mirror Room, executive

chef Amandine Chaignot

tries to use the whole

vegetable "whether in the

dish itself or as decorative

accents", and turns turnip

peelings into powders.

And Chick 'n' Sours

chef-owner Carl Clarke ferments kohlrabi

tops for kimchi because "I was inspired

by Jack Stein [executive chef of Stein

Restaurants] who creates 'trash kimchi'

out of trimmings… It doesn't always work,

but at least we've tried!"

e recent interest in root-to-stem may

well be down to London's clean-eating

brigade, which has shaken up the options

for serving vegetables. For example, the

"WE INCORPORATE EVERYTHING WE

CAN INTO DISHES… BECAUSE IF YOU'VE

GROWN VEGETABLES YOU DON'T WANT

TO WASTE THEM" DAN COX

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