Left over ‘junk’ food could become top rate cuisine thanks to a pioneering cafe.
Social campaigner Paul Burr, 51, has announced plans to open Kirklees’ first Real Junk Food Cafe in Dewsbury after becoming ‘disgusted’ with the amount of still edible shop and food outlet waste that is thrown away each day.
Paul, of College Street, Birstall, who volunteers with some of the poorest communities in the town, plans to open the cafe from Sensory World on Old Westgate, which will serve only dishes created out of donated left over waste from nearby premises that would otherwise have been destined for the bin.
He came up with the idea after seeing the success of the project by the same name that was set up in Leeds to deal with the same problem and has already signed up some eager volunteers.
Paul said: “I found out that 40% of food from shops and food outlets is currently being thrown away and I want to tackle that because it’s disgusting that so much food can be thrown away, especially while there are people who are struggling to find the money to eat healthily
“I saw how well the Real Junk Food Project cafe was doing in Leeds and thought why not set up a similar cafe in Dewsbury.
“There are a lot of restaurants and shops in Dewsbury that we want to work with and we’ve already begun conversations with some of them in the hope that they will donate their fresh but unused food which we’ll turn into tasty and healthy meals.
“Sensory World staff have kindly offered us their space to use and our other objective, like the cafe in Leeds, is that the food will be affordable to everyone, regardless of income.
“To do this we’ll operate the cafe on a pay what you feel basis which means that even if a person has no money at all they’ll be able to have a meal but will do something for us in return, like washing up, which will give everyone their own sense of worth.
“It’s unlike anything else that is being offered in the town, especially for those struggling financially who find they generally have to have a referral to access a free meal service.”
Paul is now on the hunt for more volunteers to help ensure the project’s longevity.
He said: “We are looking for more people to come and help us, especially good cooks.
“When we’re ready in the next few months we plan to open one night a week then, if successful, we hope to open it every night.”
The first Real Food Junk Project was set up in Armley, Leeds by chef Adam Smith, 29, in 2013 and has since inspired 39 other cafes around England.
He said that in the last 12 months close to 50,000 tonnes of food have been saved from landfill and thousands of people have been fed.
To find out more and to volunteer at the Dewsbury project, call Paul on 07752 410464.