The old adage “waste not, want not” has acquired a new urgency of late. With images of landfill sites and vast swathes of ocean awash with refuse hitting our retinas daily, and the UK Committee on Climate Change reporting that global average surface temperatures are now around 0.8 degrees above their pre-industrial levels largely thanks to human actions, it is time to begin tempering our insatiable appetite for novelty and radically rethinking our lifestyles.
So runs the thinking behind Dan Barber’s WastED pop-up, at Selfridges’ rooftop until April 2. The chef, whose regular kitchen is Blue Hill in Manhattan’s West Village, wants to spearhead a shift in eating habits and the way we think about what’s on our plates. Accordingly, he’s bringing in a sequence of top-tier chefs to work their magic on the kinds of ingredients that previously would have been destined for the compost hopper. This is the diametric opposite of the ingredients-led style of cooking—applying simple processes to the finest, freshest ingredients—that’s prevailed over the last two decades. Instead, it’s about using up every scrap, in the name of respect for animals, farmers and the environment—and retraining the minds and palates of overindulged, squeamish urbanites along the way.
Something to be celebrated, then: and for those purposes, at the Selfridges pop-up, Krug champagne is being served by the glass alongside. Incongruous? Not so much. Whilst this is one of the world’s most rarefied and exclusive champagnes, with each bottle of its Grande Cuvée famously containing a blend of more than 120 different wines from 10 or more harvests, this year the house was stamped with Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark in recognition of its various sustainability initiatives (including a sea-freight policy—99 per cent of Krug’s output travels that way and air freight requires presidential approval, no less). And the legendary complexity of Krug makes it a fitting counterpoint to a dish of, say, Jerusalem artichoke shells, gherkin liquor and cured sausage (courtesy of Sat Bains). Down the hatch, then… Rather than the rubbish chute. —Anna Blomefield
Photo credit: Gareth Davies/Selfridges