Our Circular Kitchen: Creating A Delicious, Nearly Zero Waste Menu

At Ozone, we strive for betterment in everything we do, for our community, our planet, and through our processes. One of the places we’re most proud of is our kitchen, where we’re serving delicious, creative dishes while operating at nearly zero waste.

In fact, we’re currently sitting at less than 3% waste in our kitchens (an impressive number if we say so, and one that’s largely due to not being able to recycle fish heads just yet—let us know if you have any great ideas!)

Our Head Chef Sam Scott is constantly pushing the boundary for what betterment means in our eateries. With his new menu landing at Ozone this month, we want to share more about his approach for creating a more sustainable restaurant, and how he and the team thoughtfully source and use ingredients to reduce our overall footprint.

“When the team and I are designing a menu, we always look for fresh, seasonal, British produce where possible. The thought process starts with our core ingredients, and then reimagining ways to use them which help with our waste mitigation. With our new menu, I wanted to make sure we are repurposing the by-products created from these dishes to develop new plates and be able highlight how we’ve reused those ingredients.”

Our kitchen philosophy in London takes influence from our Kiwi roots, where reducing waste and composting are much more ingrained in restaurants and kitchens. In the UK, nearly 200,000 tonnes of food waste are created by restaurants each year. Sam’s approach for our new menu was to highlight the imaginative ways we’re reducing food waste and using the best local and seasonal ingredients, while showing people how approachable and deliciously simple our dishes are.

Here are just a few ways Sam and our team create an imaginative and nearly no-waste menu in our kitchens:

  • We pickle, smoke and ferment whenever possible to make things like hummus, kraut, chalk stream trout pastrami, and so much more. It allows us to get the best flavour from each ingredient and create less waste by extending its lifecycle. It’s also great for gut health!
  • We source the highest-quality produce and meats from local farms and producers. We use second selection fruits and vegetables from our mates at Natoora to make sauces and pickles.
  • Each year, more than 90 kg of our leftover sourdough is milled back into flour to use in other dishes, and 2,200 litres of surplus barista milk is turned into ricotta. We use waste grounds from 600 weekly coffees to steam our Hangi veg to give a delicious, earthy flavour.
  • We source local, line caught fish from day boats on the south coast via our friends at Fin + Flounder. We switched to chalk stream trout over smoked salmon almost 5 years ago for a more sustainable, well sourced, local option.
  • Our seaweed is sourced 60 miles away from the beaches of Margate, through our friends at Haeckels. We use seaweed to make our fermented vegan XO sauce and seaweed butter.
  • ‘Plate waste’ is composted each week at a local anaerobic-digestion site, where it’s recycled to provide green energy for homes and businesses.
  • Our waste plastic is collected on foot by the team at Re=Comb in Hackney who turn it into stylish hair combs!

From the vegetable trimmings that make our treacle, barista milk for ricotta, or coffee chaff in our new no-waste ice cream sandwiches, our values around betterment and sustainable cooking are part of every one of Sam’s dishes. It’s hard work to maintain a sustainable, nearly zero-waste kitchen. But betterment also means creating a space where Sam and his team have the freedom to play with ingredients in new ways and iterate on how we continue creatively reducing waste. Ultimately Sam’s inspired by the greater good to push our menus forward in this way, and the challenge is a fun one.

“It has to be done, at every level. There’s so much food waste going to landfills each year, so I want there to be a purpose for everything we do and what we’re creating in our kitchens,” Sam explains. “It’s part of a greater issue that impacts our people and environment, and we know we have a role to play. For us it’s about bridging that connection with our community, having an open dialogue where we can share more about our philosophy, how we source, and the motivations behind it. We want to show people that these awesome, accessible menus can exist through great, locally sourced ingredients and simple, waste-saving techniques.”