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Source: Silo

What The UK's First Zero-Waste Restaurant Does To Thrive

By Desirée Kaplan

The food industry is sadly notorious for the waste it produces. Chef Douglas McMaster decided to show others that the food industry can be ethical and productive when he opened Silo in Brighton three years ago. McMaster has spent time working under Joost Bakker, a zero-waste leader, and had previously spearheaded a pop up zero-waste restaurant in Australia called Wasted.

Since then McMaster has won the BBC Young Chef of the year award and molded Silo on the philosophy that, “waste is a failure of the imagination.” The location itself is built in an old warehouse and can seat up to 50 people at one time. As the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant, Silo continues to prove that a zero-waste restaurant model can not only survive, but thrive.   

 So how exactly does this “zero-waste” restaurant work? McMaster uses a pre-industrial era approach to cooking, where the restaurant only uses food in it’s whole form straight from local farmers. This ensures that all food hasn't travel hundreds of miles after being processed and packaged. The restaurant then takes the whole foods and creates fresh meals by processing everything right in their kitchen.  

This hands on approach means Silo creates a lot of things on site such as milling its own flower, rolling its own oats, churning its own butter, and growing its own mushrooms. McMaster believes, “We don’t dictate nature, nature dictates us.” With this in mind, the restaurant always bases their menu on seasonal foods. By approaching the food system with a pre-industrial approach, the goal is also to adopt a "cleaner" diet by utilizing modern and ancient techniques.