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Book review: Ollie Hunter's 30 Easy Ways to Join the Food Revolution

21 February 2020 by
Book review: Ollie Hunter's 30 Easy Ways to Join the Food Revolution

  • 30 Easy Ways to Join the Food Revolution
  • By Ollie Hunter
  • Pavilion Books, £14.99

Chef-restaurateur Ollie Hunter believes, through a series of targeted changes to the way we source our food, that everyone can play their part in helping to prevent the self-destruction of our species and our planet. Sustainability is not a whimsical goal to Hunter; it is a way of life where he leads by example.

Hunter is a MasterChef 2013 semi-finalist who now runs the Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton Foliat, Wiltshire. The Wheatsheaf, where 90% of the food served is organic, has been voted the UK’s most sustainable business by the Sustainable Restaurant Association and received the Sawday’s award for best organic, local and seasonal pub.

In 30 Easy Ways to Join the Food Revolution, Hunter explains that the three main principles for cooking sustainably are zero waste, using organic and seasonal ingredients, and sourcing 50% of produce from within 30 miles to minimise the carbon footprint. Short sustainability lessons highlighted in the book include “stop buying plastic”, “forage, hunt and gather” and “storing for a rainy day”.

Interspersed are recipes that lean on readily available local ingredients in an abundance of pulse-based soups, breads and risottos.

Beetroot leaf dhal is flavoursome and easy to cook for large numbers. South of France fish soup is a misnomer, made with fish bones and saffron for flavour; it works as a starter, but may leave some yearning for what the name promises.

Chicken breast tagine and chicken leg, blue cheese and nettle pie – the only two meat dishes in the book – are prefaced with a page lecturing readers as to why meat eating should be reduced to around 1% of our diets in order to be sustainable. “If you’re happy that your demand to eat meat means that animals are killed, then emotionally you must okay with it,” he writes.

If Hunter feels this strongly about meat eaters, surely it would have been better to leave these recipes out altogether? 30 Easy Ways to Join the Food Revolution is best suited for chefs who are beginning their journey in operating a more sustainable kitchen.

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