‘Wonky Can Be Wonderful’

11 Nov 2019
2 min read
Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge has launched a new charitable supper club by Chef Tristan Welch, highlighting food waste. Taking place on the last Monday of every month, guests ‘eat for free’ and only pay a cover charge, a portion of which is donated to charity

Rubbish Cooks is the brainchild of Tristan Welch, Chef Director at Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge, designed to inspire and educate regarding food waste in the industry. A major concern of many restaurants and food production companies across the country, Tristan’s new monthly supper club will invite Parker’s Tavern diners to enjoy a ‘free’ three-course menu crafted from ingredients that are usually considered ‘waste’. 

The Rubbish Cooks supper clubs will take place on the last Monday of every month and Tristan will be focusing on wasted, unwanted and wonky vegetables, fruits, seeds and pulses as well as the classically disregarded parts of fish and meat. The innovative but delicious menus will be crafted using ingredients that are typically overlooked, including the likes of Crushed wonky vegetable hatchet, dented tin bean ragout; Bone and vegetable peelings broth with tortellini and confit vegetable stalks and to finish, Stale bread and treacle pudding with Cambridge gin distilled cucumber.

At each Rubbish Cooks event, Parker’s Tavern will be serving a three-course meal, for a limited number of guests, for ‘free’. Guests will only pay £20 per head which will cover service as well as a charitable donation to Jimmy’s Night Shelter, a local Cambridge-based charity close to Tristan’s heart. 

Sustainability and waste management was been key for Tristan and his team when designing Parker’s Tavern restaurant, which opened in August 2018. Various measures have been put in place in order to minimize wastage and protect the environment as much as possible. Tristan believes: “Restaurants are a notoriously wasteful business and tend to focus too much on premium ingredients and cuts at the expense of perfectly good food that might not look perfect. This is why we’ve worked closely with our suppliers who are helping us find new ways to eliminate waste from their supply chains.”

Parker’s Tavern is a destination restaurant in Cambridge overlooking the iconic Parker’s Piece. It was designed by designer of the moment, Martin Brudnizki to mirror the communal dining halls synonymous with Cambridge Colleges and is an English tavern serving locally sourced, seasonal food, with every dish designed to be a whimsical re-imagining of a British classic, sourced from field, fen and England’s seas.

The restaurant has Cambridge Blue wall panelling, traditional solid-wood parquet flooring and original stained-glass windows with crest detailing, reminiscent of the traditional architecture of Cambridge University Colleges. The restaurant is part of University Arms, which is a landmark hotel located in the historic heart of Cambridge. First opened in 1834 as a coaching inn, the hotel relaunched alongside Parker’s Tavern in August 2018, after a two year, £80m transformation.


Images © Chris Roberts