I fell in love with Tom Hunt’s food back in 2013 while attending his Forgotten Feast Alternative Christmas Banquet at the Brunel Museum. Simple yet creative, the menu was crafted from surplus food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
As an ambassador for Action Against Hunger, the Soil Association, Slow Food International and the Fairtrade Foundation, the eco-chef campaigns tirelessly to reduce food waste and fight hunger, while promoting small farmers. You will also find his ingenious no-waste recipes in the Guardian’s Feast magazine where he writes a regular column.
As a young chef, Tom Hunt worked with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage. He then went on to work on projects throughout the UK to revive our cooking heritage and help reduce food waste. His award-winning Bristol restaurant Poco is renowned for using only local, fresh ingredients.
‘If we could all live and eat a little more like Tom the world and the food chain would be in much better shape.’ Anna Jones
In his first cookbook – The Natural Cook “Eating the seasons from root to fruit” Tom Hunt put fresh, flavoursome, vegetable-focused food centre-stage, featuring recipes that make use of every ounce of each ingredient.
His latest cookbook “Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet” also stems from Tom Hunt’s unique cooking ethos, Root to Fruit, that celebrates the entire vegetable, wasting nothing. Each recipe is designed to show how easy it can be to cook with plant-based ingredients that are local, seasonal and traceable while making sure as little as possible goes to waste.
Tom Hunt is a man on a mission to inspire us to eat better in every sense of the word. In his own words, Root to Fruit breaks down sustainability into an easy-to-follow philosophy with three core principles:
- Eat For Pleasure
- Eat Whole Foods
- Eat The Best Food You Can
‘This book is like a hybrid of Michael Pollan and Anna Jones. It combines serious food politics with flavour-packed modern recipes. This is a call-to-arms for a different way of eating which seeks to lead us there not through lectures but through a love of food, in all its vibrancy and variety.’ Bee Wilson
“Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet” is a plant-based cookbook structured in two main sections. The first section explains in details the Root to Fruit manifesto, so we can better understand the importance of provenance and how our food choices not only impact our health but also the environment and the local economy. The second section is dedicated to the pleasure of eating, with a fantastic array of delicious Root to Fruit recipes.
The dishes are original and appetising with clever twists on old favourites. The Broad Bean Guacamole uses locally grown broad beans instead of avocadoes with their heavy carbon footprint. The Rotation Risotto contains a collection of soil-supporting local grains and legumes.
Putting vegetables centre stage opens the door to endless possibilities such as the Merguez Spiced Cauliflower, Baked Swede pretending to be a ham, Jackfruit Lasagne, Smoky Quinoa Salad or Cherry & Buckwheat Tabbouleh.
Some of “Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet’s” most innovative recipes have been crafted from ingredients we would normally discard. The moreish Spent Espresso Brownies are made with used coffee grounds. Another must-try is the vegan Pulp Fiction Burger recipe, below, in which Tom Hunt found a clever way not to waste leftover juice pulp. “It turns out juice pulp is perfect for making a delicious textural veggie burger, especially when it contains lots of delicious, blood-red beetroot. If you plan to make a juice, plan to make a burger, it’s a rather tasty bonus”. You will find the full recipe here.
I really enjoyed delving into Tom Hunt’s latest cookbook. A call for change, the Root to Fruit manifesto is truly motivational. Without preaching but simply cooking delicious food, “Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet” will inspire you to enjoy seasonal local food, while producing little to no waste, by eating whole vegetables (root, fruit, stalk and leaf) and composting what cannot be eaten.
This is a vibrant celebration of food as it should be. Food that nourishes us and the world around us. Food that is simple, yet innovative and delicious. There is no doubt that if we want to find a sustainable way forward, we need to rethink our relationship with food. Tom Hunt’s Root to Fruit manifesto appears the perfect way to do so.
“Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet” by Tom Hunt (Kyle Books, RRP £26) is available now in bookstores & Amazon.
Tom Hunt & Octopus Books were kind enough to offer a copy of “Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet” to one lucky reader.
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Notice: Thanks to Octopus Books for sending me a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid to review this book, all opinions and thoughts are my own.