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Eco Dining With Skye Gyngell

Eco Dining With Skye Gyngell

Australian Chef and Vogue Food Editor, Skye Gyngell introduces us to Spring; her london-based Restaurant where the cuisine is just as exquisite as the pastel interior. The distinctive seasonal dishes are crafted entirely from locally sourced produce.  Read on to find out more about this groundbreaking dining space, and for tips on how to prepare your own equally appetising eats that don’t cost or harm the earth.

Skye, tell us about the concept behind Spring.

 

Spring brings warmth and elegance within a beautiful dining space. We want the restaurant to be inclusive not exclusive, a place families can come for an early supper and or after the theatre. The food at Spring is celebrated for its conviviality and the joyfulness of sharing seasonal produce. Our cooking is heartfelt, wholesome, produce driven, and cooked by a team of people who are passionate about what they do and who feel truly privileged to work with beautiful ingredients.

"Our cooking is heartfelt, wholesome, produce driven, and cooked by a team of people who are passionate about what they do and who feel truly privileged to work with beautiful ingredients."

Our fruit and vegetables are sourced from Fern Verrow, a bio-dynamic farm in Hereford with whom we have an exclusive relationship. We only source fruit and veg from them and ensure that we build our menu around whatever they are producing more of at a particular time of year. If there’s a glut of something for example, we will make it a priority to create dishes that use this up! It’s this partnership I feel which makes Spring particularly special and ultimately so sustainable.

 

 

 

What sparked your idea to launch the Scratch Menu at Spring and how have people responded so far? 

 

The concept of a ‘scratch menu’ came from my time growing up in Australia. We would create a ‘scratch tea’ – a delicious meal made from leftovers scraps from the fridge that would otherwise have gone to waste. So the new menu at Spring will promote the use of parts or scraps from perfectly delicious ingredients that are often thrown away, not to mention for a very reasonable price!

The reaction has been so positive from diners and the industry and I almost wish we’d started doing this years ago.

 In deciding to make Spring go plastic-free, what first steps did you take? What are the most difficult sacrifices?

 

The very first step we made was to remove plastic straws, we replaced these with veg compostable straws. We then removed all cling film in the kitchen and front of house – replacing it very simply with lids for all our gastroscope and bees wrap and cellulose for everything else. We have removed all plastic drinking cups with aluminium ones – changed our brand of hand soap and hand cream to ones that ceramic containers – and requested from our suppliers that everything be delivered in cardboard boxes without the use of plastic bags or polystyrene. I suppose one of the trickiest sacrifices will be the bin bags. We haven’t found an alternative to bin bags yet but use recyclable rather than bio degradable as biodegradable will still end up in landfill.

"The very first step we made was to remove plastic straws, we replaced these with veg compostable straws."

Tell me about one of your favourite left-over recipes that can be channelled at home.

 

An all-time favourite left-over recipe of mine is stuffed Savoy cabbage, creamed potatoes. This recipe uses all simple ingredients you’re likely to have in the food cupboard or fridge, as well as leftover sausage meat and stale bread!

What Steps would you give to your average household cook in reducing their environmental footprint in the kitchen this festive season?

 

1. Set up a compost bin in the kitchen – it needn’t be more than a bucket – all raw foods can be added as well as coffee grinds and egg shells.  Go one step further and set up a workers in your back garden – you will have wonderful compost in no time.

2. Plan meals and buy as you go along – the large weekly supermarket shop although convenient can lead to so much waste.  I shop little and often – I spend less money and have reduced food waste considerably.

3. Eat less meat – I only now eat meat once a month or so and never really buy it for home.  Not because I don’t enjoy eating it but because I know how detrimental to the planet over production of meat is.

4. Reduce the use of single use plastics by re using aluminium foil or using bees wrap ( a beautiful product that can be washed and re used countless times.

5. Cooking with natural gas is better for the environment and more economical than electric cooktops that rely on coal or gas.

6. Eat local, it’s one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do. Support your local farmers and cut down on food miles

"I don’t think we can separate our own personal health from the health of the planet - we are all so intrinsically tied together."

Finally, what does sustainability mean to you?

 

Sustainability to me means to work in a way that is respectful to the planet. To care about the quality of the air and the soil and to do our bit to improve it rather than destroy it. Changing the way we do things may seem overwhelming but the few changes we have made at Spring have been really enjoyable and fun and really not too difficult at all. I don’t think we can separate our own personal health from the health of the planet – we are all so intrinsically tied together. Sustainability means to be mindful of the consequences of our actions.

'Green' Your Dining Look

In our opinion, a ‘green’ dining experience should always involve sustainable clothing, beauty and accessories. See REV’s recommendations below…