I read a news story in The Caterer recently that spoke about how zero waste and modest ingredients will be key post-lockdown for chefs and it made me realise just how much we’ve been relying on these types of ingredients ourselves of late – the ‘new frugality’ if you will.

Without realising it, we have started:

  • Basing our meals around what vegetables we have in as opposed to using meat or fish
  • Adding beans and pulses to loads of dishes to add fibre, protein and make the reduced amount of meat we are eating go further. My top three, I hear you ask? Haricot beans, red lentils and of course chickpeas.
  • Questioning food dates more and instead using the good old ‘sniff test’ with ingredients – Tony Turnbull in The Times recently wrote about how there has been a big move towards this recently
  • Juicing fruits that are past their best – easy peeler juice anyone?
  • Freezing berries and bananas that are going south and then whizzing them up with a splash of almond milk to make instant vegan ice cream. It really is phenomenal and much better for you than the real thing!
  • Making lots of coleslaw. I use that term loosely as it is usually just whatever salad appropriate veg we have to hand, sliced thinly and mixed in with mayo, but still, it tastes great.
  • Relying on good seasonings and spices to add depth of flavour where perhaps meat needs less help – shout out to Schwartz!

I feel overall, the ‘new frugality’ movement is fantastic as what comes with it is a sense of creativity in the kitchen and a positive feeling knowing that we are consuming less meat and instead forming alternative, more sustainable eating habits.

The article in The Caterer mentions how “menus will need to be developed to get everything they can from produce and make the most of modest ingredients” and I for one can’t wait to see how operators in hospitality adapt dishes and rise to the challenge.