• Soft launch lunches at Real Junk Food Manchester’s new cafe

Soft launch lunches at Real Junk Food Manchester’s new cafe

5 September 2017 by Neil Sowerby

REAL Junk Food Manchester has finally opened the city’s first waste food pay-as-you-feel restaurant in August 2017. From September 5 it will be open just for lunch Tuesday to Friday, then after this soft launch will extend its opening hours over the next few weeks. 

The casual cafe is on the site of the former Milkjam pop-up at 85 Oxford Street and when it is fully running will include an ethical coffee bar in partnership with Second City Coffee, takeaway breakfast and lunches and a 40 cover 'pay as you feel' restaurant that will offer breakfast and lunch five days a week plus regular fine dining evenings.

After the amazing success of their Crowdfunder campaign in January this year, which saw the project raise over £39,000 in 28 days, nearly doubling its original target, the team struggled to find a venue but property giants Bruntwood came to the rescue,

Real Junk Food Manchester is all about reducing food waste and its huge environmental impacts in and around Manchester and producing tasting meals from raw materials otherwise being discarded.

It has been a pop-up operation since mid 2014, with renowned chef Mary-Ellen McTague (below) leading in the kitchen since early 2016. The innovative social enterprise has hosted a huge range of “waste food” events, including pop-up restaurants, weddings, gala dinners, and support for a range of social and community projects helping people struggling in the current economic climate.

Mary-Ellen remains Executive Chef and Director of the project after taking over the running  of Manchester Art Gallery’s cafe, indeed offering there a pay-as-you-feel children’s menu, with all ingredients being supplied by Real Junk Food Manchester.

The hands on, ‘people before profits’ nature of Real Junk Food continues at the new site – as well as recycling unused cookery equipment, they are seeking qualified and experienced electrical and plumbing contractors who might be willing to them build the restaurant alongside an army of vounteers. They are also recruiting a senior sous chef. If you are interested email volunteering@realjunkfoodmanchester.co.uk.


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