10:10:10 Lunch

Your guide to the perfect Low-Carbon Sunday lunch featuring Arthur Potts-Dawson and the 10:10 office…

Welcome to the the 10:10:10 Low-Carbon Sunday lunch.

Below we have sustainable chef Arthur Potts-Dawson on how to source and cook the perfect Low-Carbon Sunday lunch. Of course a low-carbon lunch doesn't technically have to take place on a Sunday. In fact, what better way to spend an early Friday afternoon at work. What's more, the great thing about sitting around the table with friends and co-workers is that invariably the conversation leads to lots of creative ideas on what you can do as part of your 10:10. So have a look and see what happened when our own David F. Clarke cooked for the 10:10 officeFinally we have a 10 step plan all about how to create your own Low-Carbon Sunday Lunch.

Arthur Potts-Dawson

Arthur shows off his locally-sourced tomatoes

Arthur Potts-Dawson, 40, is an expert in sustainable food with 25 years of restaurant experience, including time at The River Cafe, Soho House and Claridges. He founded London restaurant Acorn House, which trains chefs in sustainable cooking methods, and recently opened The People's Supermarket in Holborn, London, a co-operative aiming to encourage people living in the capital to buy locally-sourced food. Here he talks about the nation's relationship with food, the origins of what goes on our plates, and why he's backing 10:10:10's Low-Carbon Sunday Lunch on October 10.


Why do you think people are latching onto the Low-Carbon Sunday Lunch?

Because everyone loves a roast, from working-class families to the Queen. It's easy to do, too, as all the ingredients can be sourced locally.

Have you seen a change in the way we source our food over the years?

Consumption rocketed in the 70s and 80s and so did waste. Much of the food that comes out of the ground is wasted, supermarkets can be incredibly wasteful and it's said that up to a third of the food in our homes ends up in the bin.

You've worked in a lot of restaurants - surely waste there is frowned upon?

When I first trained as a chef, under the Roux brothers, nothing was wasted. The tiniest carrot top - even the potato peelings - were deep-fried for the staff to eat. That was for economic reasons but it's the ecology of cooking that has to keep the planet running. The two go hand in hand.

So what foods are going to be in season on October 10?

There are some great pumpkins and potatoes for roasting and bacon's good at this time of year, too. Take a chicken and drizzle it with honey and a little soy sauce, then put it in the top of the oven, with the pumpkin and some whole shallots. Avoid the hob – you can do the whole meal in the oven to save energy. On the bottom shelf, put your carrots, your potatoes, some home-grown garlic and thyme. You can grow both at home really easily and can't have enough of it in your diet.

Are we eating too much meat?

People think they need to eat meat every day - sometimes every meal! But what are you consuming? A lot of water, and a lot of antibiotics and steroids. Meat is too often a mass-produced product and anything like that will have a detrimental effect on the planet. You don't need to eat 20 chickens a month, but people do! My advice would be to eat less meat, but eat good meat.

Veggie board

The People's Supermarket sources its veg locally

Are supermarkets getting better at sourcing local produce?

No. Right now supermarkets are feeding globally, and British agriculture is on its knees. Supermarkets drove British farmers' prices down as they grew in power but prices could only get so low - the minimum wage here is much higher than in China, or Guatamala, or South Africa. Why would they want to buy an English apple over a South African apple when it's half the price?

This is clearly something you feel very passionate about…

Of course. The milk system here is in tatters, potato farming's in ruins. Every single thing has been taken for every ounce of profit. Drive through the UK and you'll see masses of green fields, like a postcard. But it's not working, Everything's stopped.

But not everybody's going to be living near a farmer's market. What can they do?

Support local veggie box delivery systems, or better still, grow your own. If people grew 10% of the food they consume that would be a massive step to reducing carbon. Even a window box of herbs is a good start. And even if you have to travel a little bit, seek out a farmer's market or farm with a farm shop, and stock up on things like potatoes, which keep for up to six months.


Potatoes will keep for up to six months if stored correctly

How can we change the way supermarkets stock fruit and vegetables?

Demand that food is as locally sourced as possible and uses as little packaging as possible. If you want, leave the packaging behind, which really sends a message. If you have time speak to the store manager.  Supermarkets are great places for your staples, for laundry powder, etc, but don't be buying Namibian runner beans, Kenyan french beans or South African apples.

How is the People's Supermarket doing things differently?

The People's Supermarket actively seeks cucumbers from 20 miles away. And milk. And bread. Our tomatoes are from Chiswick. And we're building a community of people who are generating a low-impact food system. 90% of what we consume should be from this country. But in fact 90% of the fruit we eat is imported. 90%!

How does the current model affect communities abroad?

A country needs to be able to grow food for its own people or else it'll be importing and continuing the cycle. Kenyan farmers are growing French beans for the UK which use masses of water and means they're not able to feed their own people. Which means they're importing food, too!

Any final tips?

If you're going to do the Low-Carbon Sunday Lunch, then let that Sunday lunch feed you for at least four days. Use the leftover meat with bubble and squeak or make a one-pot stew with the veg and some dumplings made from old bread.  Then make sure you make a chicken stock the next day. The Low-Carbon Sunday Lunch isn't going to solve all our problems, but it's a great way to start.

To find out more about The People's Supermarket, click here. For more on Arthur's pop-up sustainable restaurant, Mrs Paisley's Lashings, click here.

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