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Michael Gove Wants You to Stop Wasting Your Food

One of the world’s most remote Michelin-starred restaurants will close in Sweden, and more food news today

Michael Gove’s step up to the plate U.K. food waste initiative offers solutions for food waste at home and in London restaurants Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Michael Gove thinks you need to write a shopping list next time

The secretary of state for environment, food, and rural affairs is partnering with the government’s food surplus and waste champion — a person, called Ben Elliott, who also runs a luxury lifestyle group focussed on booking ritzy dinners and long haul flights — to encourage supermarkets, suppliers, and the people to stop chucking away so much food. Gove, who was recently put on blast by leading industry bodies over Brexit and opined that those in poverty eat cheap, unhealthy food out of choice rather than, well, poverty, now wants the country to turn its attention to shopping lists, food storage, and setting its fridges to the correct temperature. Key elements of his ‘step up to the plate’ solution to what he and Elliott advisedly call “the moral, economic, and environmental scandal of food waste” include supporting businesses in following a food waste reduction plan, personal pledges to “be a Food Value Champion at work and at home, buying only what I need and eating what I buy, wherever I am,” and using shopping lists at the supermarket.

One of Gove’s more readily implementable solutions is partnerships with food waste charities, which include the Felix Project, supporter of Massimo Bottura’s Refettorio Felix and a partner with the likes of chef Merlin Labron-Johnson and social media influencer Clerkenwell Boy. Future action on food waste will partly rely on these “big players from the worlds of food retail and hospitality,” with a launch symposium on 13 May running in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s ‘Bigger Than the Plate’ exhibition, which starts on 18 May. There’s mileage in some of this that could start to reverse the reported 10.2 million tonnes of food waste per year; some of it sounds like fiddling with the fridge temperature while Rome burns, especially with several supermarkets — one of the supply chain’s most wasteful junctures — reluctant to sign up. []

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As I work through this new challenge I will be in my kitchen as much as humanely possible because being there, engaged in my craft, and with those I love so dearly is what fuels me.

For all the women who have been on this journey before me and now with me, my heart is with you.


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