Tom Hunt is an acclaimed eco-chef, and author of The Natural Cook, an inspirational book for the way we eat now. He founded the Forgotten Feast, a campaign working on projects throughout the UK, to revive our cooking heritage and help reduce food waste and Poco an award winning restaurant in Bristol and now in London. Tom has been cooking passionately for the past 14 years. He began his career with Ben and Jake Hodges (formerly of The River Cafe and Moro). He then spent many years travelling in Europe, Latin America, and Asia and loves cooking world cuisine, while holding onto his sustainable ethos through using the highest quality seasonal British produce. On return to the UK, he was involved with the formative years of River Cottage, working as a course leader, and demonstrator. Tom is an official chef of Feeding the 5000, a global event, which aims to highlight food waste by feeding more than 5000 people with delicious food that would otherwise have been wasted. His mission is to prove the value of this unwanted food by using it to cook elaborate and lavish banquets.
My connection with seafood
These days fish stocks are depleted and a lot of species are endangered. We need to be very careful which fish we are buying as it is an ever-changing situation. Some fishmongers who advertise themselves as sustainable still sell endangered species. It is up to us to do the research and make the decisions on what fish we buy. I buy fish that is in season and caught locally. Refer to an online guide such as Good Fish Guide (www.goodfishguide.org ) or FishWatch (www.fishwatch.gov) or to make sure you are buying fish from sustainable stocks.
Why sustainability is important to me
I love cooking simple, rustic food that is full of flavor, vibrant, and healthy. All good meals start with the ingredients so, before I start cooking, I seek out the very best I can. Only then will I pick up my recipe book for inspiration on how to cook them well. I like to feel good about the food I eat, and so I cook with ingredients that have been ethically sourced. It is a big driving force for me to buy food in as conscious a way as possible. But how do we decide for ourselves what is ethical and what is not? At my restaurant, Poco, we have drawn up a manifesto so that we and importantly our customers know where we stand. I like to have a connection to where my food comes from, even if it is just talking to a market stall-holder or chatting to a fishmonger to find out how the fish was caught. This helps me to value the food I am eating and respect its origins.