How to turn food waste into dinner, from juice-pulp burgers to aquafaba meringues

Amid a global crisis of food wastage, simple steps can help to reduce the amount you throw away, while reinvigorating your roster of recipes

Aquafaba merginues
Turn oft-thrown-away produce into delicious meals Credit: Jenny Zarins

In 2011 I created a feast for 200 people using food that would otherwise have gone to waste. We were inundated with donations of beautiful, fresh, organic vegetables of every description: apples from Kent, rescued from an orchard; misshapen cauliflowers, gleaned from local fields; even perfectly ripe avocados, intercepted on their way to a bin at New Covent Garden Market. I was astonished to learn that such high-grade food was being wasted.

This event, however, turned out not to be about waste: it was a celebration of plenty. We were celebrating the wonderful food grown by farmers on our land, in all its ugly and, of course, beautiful shapes and sizes. We called it the ‘Forgotten Feast’.

Over recent years, the magnitude of global food waste has been revealed by individuals and organisations alike. This has led to an international movement combating the issue at every level, from grassroots events like the one I created, to the UN working with charities about systematic change. The extent of the problem is beginning to motivate people, companies and corporations around the world to improve our food system.

Even as individuals, we have the power to help our environment thrive, simply by the way we eat. It helped me to see the real value of food; its connection with nature, on people and on the environment.

I’ve developed the recipes in this book to be affordable and simple to make at home, based on readily available produce. I’ve also introduced some lesser known heirloom, world ingredients and wild produce to encourage biodiversity whilst always offering an alternative.

Like the Forgotten Feast, this book is a celebration of plenty: a celebration of taste, nutrition and the Earth; a guide to affordable and ethical cooking, citizenship and well-being that reconnects us with good food and nature.

Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet by Tom Hunt is published by Kyle Books (£26). Order your copy from books.telegraph.co.uk