1. Go foraging with an expert. I met the fantastic Garry Eveleigh foraging at The Pig a few years ago and then Jen Williams at Chewton Glen. Check out John Renston’s Edible City about his foraging all over London and the New Forest, and also take a look at Totally Wild UK in Manchester. Find your local forager here.
2. A supper club with a twist. Not only does the Charcoal Arts Club kick off with life drawing and a cocktail in hand but the main feast is cooked by two of the UK’s best food stylists using leftover ingredients unused from that day’s photo shoot. I also adore The Sister Table which is about connection as much as great food – as a proud Young British Foodies judge (YBFS), I was delighted to award them last year’s Food Sharing award.
3. PYO – pick your own. Strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, plums, peas and more… Grab your sunhat and basket and go picking with your loved ones. It’s a wonderful family day out and PYOs are popping up all over the place.
4. Waste-free refreshments. A bunch of grapes is always a great kitchen staple in the summer. For a refreshing snack, try freezing grapes (they make for excellent ice cubes too). If you have bruised or older grapes that are getting a little soft, roast them and have with goats cheese, mint and lettuce for a delicious hot and cold salad. Also, don’t throw away your leftover tea and coffee – turn the morning’s tea into an iced tea or cocktail or blend rescued coffee into a chocolate coffee milkshake. Waste not, want not!
5. Head to one of these legendary food festivals – Aldeburgh Food Festival in Suffolk, PX Plus Festival in Hertfordshire, Abargaveny in Wales and River Cottage in Dorset (and watch Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani’s War on Plastic documentary on BBC). I’m also hoping to visit the Scilly Islands festival, 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall for its celebration of slow food and low-food miles.
6. Support World Refugee Week. Go to Refugee Food Festival to see which London chefs are welcoming refugee chefs to cook in their kitchens.
7. Stock up for barbecues and picnics. Check out the really popular Wine Carboot in Kings Cross (look out for the biodynamic and low intervention wines). And if you’re having a party, why not get some refillables – find out all about bulk buy shops here – or try sourcing your party wine in a box which probably works out cheaper too. Ale lovers, look out for TOAST, which turns unsold bakery bread into award-winning ale, with profits going to a food waste charity.
If you’re popping to the butcher or fishmonger to get your barbecue goods, take your own containers (most places will welcome you to bring your own). One of my favourite places Secret Smokehouse (they supply multiple Michelin-starred restaurants with their smoked and cured fish) also do epic fish pies that you can collect ready to go in the oven in a nice dish and, once you’ve gobbled it up, you return it to them.
8. Go and see the fantastic Food: Bigger Than The Plate exhibition at the V&A. I was delighted to be asked to take part in a food waste challenge at the launch with two of the wonderful women from West London’s Hubb Community Kitchen (set up in the aftermath of the Grenfell Fire tragedy). We ran a free street-food truck at the entrance using potatoes and their peels in a potato fritter (potatoes are one of the most thrown away vegetables in UK kitchens) with a zingy herb chutney (recipe from their cookbook Together which has a forward from the Duchess of Sussex and is supported by The Royal Foundation).
9. If you love Cornwall as much as I do, sign up to the magnificent Hidden Hut and keep an eye out for the monthly announcements of their outdoor long table suppers which sell out in seconds. Take your own plates and cutlery and have a picture-perfect feast on the beach and make loads of new friends.
10. If you get an afternoon off or want to spend a day of your holidays making a difference and helping to fight food waste, why not spend some time volunteering with amazing organisations like Olio and my friends The Felix Project?
See you in a fortnight for part one of my favourite eco-minded restaurants in London.