By Oliver Gladwin, Co-owner and Creative Chef of The Shed
We opened our first restaurant The Shed in 2012 to bring the countryside to the city, where people are often disconnected from where their food comes from. My brothers and I grew up on a farm so we know first-hand the amount of work that goes into growing fruit, veg and animals and that in each little step a lot of other energy is used.
The Shed, Rabbit and Nutbourne – all the Gladwin Brothers’ three restaurants in London – are taking part in Earth Hour because turning out the lights is a fun way to bring the importance of sustainability to the table. We want to celebrate food for all the work and passion involved from growing it, to cooking it, to eating it – and we never waste it.
What most of us don’t immediately see when we pick up, let’s say a carrot for example, is the amount of energy that has gone into growing it. The lamp that turns on at 5am to get the farmer out of bed, the machine used to pump the water to wet the crop, the fuel used to run the tractor… A carrot is a pretty precious piece of cargo when you think of it that way.
Everyone on our team believes it is their responsibility to lead the way in food sustainability. Tackling food waste is central to the way we run our kitchens and our respect for every ingredient means you will see jazzed up carrot peels for garnish and plenty offal on the plate. We know our customers agree the bits others might throw away can be just as special as their counterparts.
We look to source products with the lowest possible impact on the environment and actively search out suppliers who try to do the same. One example is our new ale by a company called “Toast”. It’s made from the offcuts of bread from big bakeries that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s this kind of second usage (using perfectly good off-cuts) that we can really get into.
In our restaurants we have mainly reclaimed furniture, our chairs at Rabbit are all from an old church, for example, and fixtures for our kitchen are often secondhand and renovated but still kept to a high energy rating. We do lots of little things to save electricity and gas from leaving the main lights off in the seating area until we really need them to turning off the boiler every night. We also try to leave the heat off until just before guests start to arrive.
Last year our customers loved taking part in Earth Hour when they had a chance to guess ingredients from secret dishes by candlelight, so we are excited to do it again this year with a whole new menu. It’s really interactive and a great way to bring a fun element to sustainability. You’ll see some excellent examples of second usage illustrating our zero waste ethos and vegetables prepared in unexpected ways alongside beautiful cuts of meat. Turning out the lights can be a lot of fun and we hope our guests will want to do it more often at home too.
If you want to try one of the Gladwin Brothers’ favourite recipes made with the humble carrot, have a look at Carrot Hummus below – the rest will have to be a surprise!
Hummus is something we usually associate with chickpeas, but this version is a delicious alternative for a bright starter or snack. We top ours with cinnamon dukkah, an Egyptian inspired nut and seed blend served with dips, for extra flavour and texture.
500g donkey carrots
1tsp coriander seed
1tsp caraway seed
3 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme, picked
1 ½ tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper
For the cinnamon dukkah
50g roasted hazelnuts
50g ground almonds
8g coriander seeds
8g dried mint
Large pinch sea salt
For the garnish
1 large red chili, finely diced
Handful fresh coriander
Wash the carrots and leave the skins on, which hold extra nutrients and flavor.
Cut carrots into even-sized 2cm disks and put in a large baking tray with coriander, caraway, picked thyme, peeled garlic cloves, salt and pepper and a glass of water, then wrap tightly in tin foil.
Roast in the oven at 200ºc until soft and tender, it should take about 45mins.
Once cooked put into bowl and cover with cling film to stop any moisture and flavor evaporating from carrots. Leave to cool.
Blitz the carrots in a food processor. Add in tahini, lemon juice and honey. The hummus should be smooth, bright and full of flavor. Season with salt and pepper to finish.
Make the cinnamon dukkah by blitzing a mixture of all the ingredients listed above and generously scatter on top of the hummus along with the diced red chillies and torn coriander leaves.
Serve with raw heritage carrots as crudité and crisp bread or toasted pitas.