The gap between food waste and food insecurity is a social conundrum that the traditional restaurant model has, for many years, largely ignored. It's the reason why, post-pandemic, Eleven Madison Park opened up its food truck, Eleven Madison Truck, to serve meals made from its kitchen's extra ingredients to communities in need. But a restaurant in London is taking a different, and slightly more direct, approach.
Silo, a Michelin green-starred restaurant in the trendy, East London Hackney Wick neighborhood, is the first restaurant in the world to eliminate food waste altogether. According to its website, "Silo is a restaurant without a bin." Working backward to eliminate waste from the food system, Silo creates everything on its menu from scratch. The restaurant mills its own flour, churns its own butter, rolls its own oats, brews its own drinks, and maximizes the entire potential of every animal and vegetable that's harvested for its menu. Of course, this isn't possible without suppliers who are also committed to achieving zero waste.
That's why everything that gets delivered to the restaurant comes from regenerative sources and is conveyed in reusable vessels. Still, between the produce that comes in and the dishes that go out, some waste is left over. Only, at Silo, it's all-natural — and therefore compostable. The "fermentatrium" underneath Silo is where it all goes. Then, helped along by some salt and time, the compost is used to make garum, a fermented sauce and seasoning, that is the foundation of some of the restaurant's most successful dishes.
Read more: 21 Delicious Ways To Use Up Leftover Rice
What's On Silo's Menu?
"Waste is a failure of the imagination" — that's what Silo's chef, Douglas McMaster, told The Michelin Guide, at least. "It's this struggle that gives birth to creativity and defines who we are," he goes on. All of the dishes on the waste-free restaurant's menu demonstrate this dedication to both sustainability and creativity. Serving a set of only 10 to 11 dishes — a model that The Wesleyan Argus's Ethan Geiger noted contributes to both the quality of what Silo serves and also to its zero-waste mission — not only keeps the menu short but requires fewer ingredients.
However, what's plated in front of you is hardly ever recognizable to its original form. At Silo, things are fermented, pickled, brewed, milled, and rolled -- all in-house -- and you'll find a lot of ingredients used in different ways. For example, the on-site milled "Siloaf" bread is served first with homemade butter. Then, as if to sign off with a reminder of the restaurant's closed-loop model, it's seen again in the form of a dessert, breading an ice cream sandwich with crumbs leftover from the bread-making process.
The dishes change seasonally, of course — but the loop remains closed. Chicken bones are made into broth and summer peppers are drizzled with garums made from the winter menu's leftover cuttlefish that's been fermenting for months. The drink menu doesn't lack originality, either. Silo has an extensive list of carefully sourced wines and local beers, while their house cocktails can range from a perfumed pine Negroni to a non-alcoholic hogweed seed soda.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.