Tom Hunt is an award-winning eco-chef, food campaigner and author of Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet. Not only is his cookbook thought provoking and informative, it also offers illustrative solutions, giving us the skills and knowledge to shop, eat and cook more sustainably.
EATING FOR PLEASURE, PEOPLE & PLANET
Can you tell us a bit about you and your journey to becoming an eco-chef and food educator?
Somehow food sustainability has always been in my life. I grew up on farms and one of my first chef jobs was cooking at River Cottage where I ended up becoming sous chef and a course workshop leader.
I first called myself an eco-chef in 2011 when I was asked to create a feast out of food surplus for 200 people in the centre of London. At that point I realised that I needed to shift my focus and energy to create and teach about the importance of our ecology within the food system.
You are currently living off grid and using Falcon to cook on flame. What’s your favourite product and what are you using it for?
We love using the bake set in our Ooni pizza oven for roasting vegetables and meat. The high sides allow the tin to hold a lot of ingredients and all the delicious cooking juices. The teapot is also great for heating water and making chai directly over fire.
What are you loving most about living off grid at the moment?
We live in a valley filled with birdsong and I’m slowly learning to identify birds by their call. I also love how our energy consumption has dramatically reduced. We now use very little water and electricity and the energy we do use is solar power from our Bluetti solar generator.
How can more people eat with zero waste and zero packaging in mind?
Cook from root to fruit! Using the whole ingredient with zero food waste. Never peel anything unless you have to and eat all edible parts of a product when available, like cauliflower and celery leaves. Buy unpackaged veg, meat and dry goods from local stores or box schemes and focus on cooking a whole food, plant rich diet from root to fruit. The money savings you make could even help reduce your weekly shopping bill.
Do you have a favourite recipe from your cookbook, Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet?
As a seasonal chef my favourite recipe depends on what I have available at the time. Right now courgettes are abundant so I’ve enjoyed making my Burnt courgette with its leaves and flowers. It’s a bit like babbaganush but made with courgettes instead of aubergine.
Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?
I’m really excited to have just finished my workshop with Newlyn Fermentary which took place on the 6th August. https://www.newlynfermentary.co.uk. They make incredible water kefir, a probiotic fermented fizzy drink often infused with fruit. And they also make lots of yummy kimchi and sauerkraut. Our all day workshop was a deep dive into how to make these products and included lots of delicious giveaways.
Goonown Growers http://www.goonowngrowers.co.uk are an incredible community market garden in St Agnes who have a market stall at Truro Farmers Market selling the best organic produce you can imagine at competitive prices making organic produce more accessible to everyday shoppers.