Tom Hunt is an acclaimed eco-chef, and author of The Natural Cook. He founded the Forgotten Feast, a campaign working on projects throughout the UK, to revive our cooking heritage and help reduce food waste and Poco a festival cafe and award winning restaurant in Bristol.
Simply put The Forgotten Feast is a roaming restaurant that supports the ugly, the unwanted and the unloved. It creates an unforgettable celebration of taste that centres itself on the use of wild and seasonal foods, wasted foods and foods that have been forgotten or ignored by the modern world.
Times are changing, and it’s time for change in the way we eat. ‘The Forgotten Feast’ is both revolutionary in its approach, and fundamentally simple in its principles. The people behind The Forgotten Feast believe that the 20 million tonnes of annual food wastage that exists within our society is inexcusable. This wastage can take the form of fresh fish discarded into the sea, unusual cuts of meat unused through lack of demand, and the massive fruit and vegetable wastage right down the line from grower to supplier.
Autumn last year we had the pleasure of following ‘Paddy’ a free-range Gloucester Old Spot pig reared at Ellises Farm in Devon for Tom’s Feast at The Wells Food Festival. Raised on food waste specifically for the feast by farmer Donna Lucking, Paddy’s story is one of sustainability, and love of farming in the ‘proper’ way.
Tom’s chefs Sebastien Lauret and Marente van der Valk with Donna and butcher Neil Hawkins
Slaughtered locally, Donna’s pigs are butchered at the farm by Neil Hawkins, a 4th generation butcher who has been in the trade over 30 years. In an age of pre-packaged meat with very little traceability, it’s refreshing to see a traditional craftsman at work, supplying cuts of meat to order from local free range animals. Within 20 minutes what was a whole carcass had been turned into some familiar and not so familiar cuts, from thick cut chops through to pigs cheeks and trotters, what we have here is great pork and no waste.
We were joined by Marente van der Valk and Sebastien Lauret, head chefs from Tom’s team in London who cooked the glorious feast in Wells. Tom’s passion and ethos is visibly passed down through his team, Marente and Sebastien eagerly followed the butchering process of the pork they served and gave us a preview of the main dish at the feast, and they didn’t disappoint.
Glorious thick cut chops cooked in their own fat served with baked apples stuffed with black pudding (recipe found here) and marrow making a welcome appearance in preference to the much-used courgette. This is great food, of the highest standard but with no fuss…it’s honest to the ingredients and befit for a feast!
Sebastien giving the pork some fire at the Forgotten Feast