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Chef Aiden Byrne responds to food waste Twitter row

22 April 2014 by
Chef Aiden Byrne responds to food waste Twitter row

Manchester House chef Aiden Byrne has hit back on Twitter after users criticised him for throwing away "£4,000 worth of food".

The row emerged after Byrne's restaurant last night appeared in the second episode of BBC show Restaurant Wars, alongside Simon Rogan's Manchester site the French. After cooking for a trial service, the restaurant was then shown to have thrown the dishes away.

Twitter users immediately chided the chef for wasting food, and asked why he had not donated the platefuls to charity. Replying via his @aidenbyrne Twitter account, Byrne said that the restaurant had tried to donate to homeless organisations but had been declined, because the site "wasn't registered".

Chief executive of Living Ventures, Tim Bacon, has stated that the situation was "completely unsatisfactory" but rare.

He said: "[This] is something we do very rarely. Unfortunately, we needed to stress test the kitchen and look at the effect on food quality. This required a considered look at the food produced, so it was not possible to serve it to trial guests in the restaurant which is what we would normally do.

"As a company we take our community responsibilities very seriously, and consider food wastage to be a very important issue not just for restaurants but for the food industry as a whole."

He added that the company raises tens of thousands of pounds for charity every year.

Other chefs on Twitter sprang to Byrne's defence, including Jon Fell, head chef at AA-Rosette Sella Park Country House Hotel in Cumbria, who spoke out against people who "sit there and criticise". He asked people to "tell me ONE establishment that doesn't throw a ridiculous amount of food away".

Calum Franklin, head chef at London's Holborn Dining Room, also supported Byrne, saying that giving food to charity wasn't as straightforward as "most think". He added: "I've worked in a hotel that was blocked when trying to give food to the homeless, and worked in a shelter that had to refuse."

Byrne thanked those who had supported him, but to one user, who asked him to "man up", he countered: "I challenge you to open an operation like ours and come away without any scars."

Billed as a behind-the-scenes showcase, the three-part BBC Two series Restaurant Wars follows Manchester House (which opened in September 2013) and Simon Rogan's the French (March 2013) as they battle it out to bring fine dining to the city. The final episode airs next Monday night.

The first episode, aired last week, led to a steep rise in bookings for both sites; the French reported a 577% increase via both phone and online, while Manchester House's online booking system crashed just 30 minutes into the broadcast.

BBC show boosts bookings for Manchester House and Rogan's the French >>

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