Adventures in Culture part 14: The Real Junk Food Project

The Real Junk Food Project, Oxford Street, Manchester

Last Friday I ate food waste in central Manchester whilst sitting in a disused bath. It was so good, two hours later I ate more - and then paid for it in a brown envelope.

No. I’ve not lost my senses. I was trying out a new ‘not for profit’ restaurant: The Real Junk Food Project, which has just opened in Manchester. 

Putting food waste to good use: TRJFP is a restaurant making a difference.

Putting food waste to good use: TRJFP is a restaurant making a difference.

Part of a larger national project, TRJFP takes food that would have otherwise been thrown out as ‘waste’ (but is still safe and edible) by supermarkets and restaurants, makes them into meals and encourages punters to pay what they feel in a discrete brown envelope.

It’s popular too: after trying out a delicious breakfast of a bacon butty and a cuppa, when I returned for lunch a couple of hours later, two of the three meals available had already sold out (I’ll eat you next time, chicken curry!). The Boston Bean Stew that I chose did not disappoint though: a hearty, healthy lunch with a fiery spicy kick. It set me up very nicely for an afternoon of guitar shopping. 

My spicy Boston Bean Stew - yum!

My spicy Boston Bean Stew - yum!

It’s not just the food that is upcyclyed: all furniture, fittings and artwork are donated or sourced for free online. My ‘seat’ was a modified bath, cut in half and made into a comfy chaise lounge. The manager also proudly told me they had just completed a successful online campaign to source baby high chairs. Luckily my beard was sizeable, so they didn't ask me to get in one. 

My comfy bath/chair

My comfy bath/chair

And what did I pay? Well… that’s between me and the brown envelope. 

If you fancy being part of a project that is making a difference, head on down to The Real Junk Food Project. There are restaurants popping up all over the country - and all you have to do is eat! Check out their website for more details

Pay what you feel via the brown envelope

Pay what you feel via the brown envelope

Where to next?

Who knows? If you know a restaurant that I MUST go to, Tweet me: @stephensonrich.

Until next time, keep your belly full - and the plate empty.

#IAMRICH