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New food waste cafe to open at People’s History Museum

It will be the first museum cafe and bar in the country that intercepts food that would otherwise go to waste

The People’s History Museum is partnering with Manchester’s leading conscious food company, Open Kitchen, to launch a new cafe.

Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum will be the first museum cafe and bar in the country that intercepts food that would otherwise go to waste.

Alongside working with a range of food businesses to source perfectly edible food that would otherwise go to waste, Open Kitchen purchases ingredients from a sustainable food chain – local, seasonal, organic, independent, short supply chains and Fairtrade – supporting other ethical businesses and social enterprises, making it the first of its kind in the UK to take this combined approach. 

Photo: People’s History Museum

With a launch to coincide with the reopening of People’s History Museum on Wednesday 19th  May, Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum will be a fresh and modern cafe and bar operating from the museum’s Spinningfields home overlooking the River Irwell. 

It will celebrate sustainable and ethical produce with an all-day menu, and in the evening, the ambience will switch to offer table service drinks and small plates.

The menu will be largely vegetarian and vegan, showcasing a smaller selection of meat dishes using Pasture for Life reared, locally sourced meat. 

It will change seasonally, and Open Kitchen will be working directly with farms to highlight the beautiful sustainably produced veg and fruit that is already grown in the North West. 

Sustainability feeds into every element of the cafe, with Open Kitchen at PHM’s fit out using upcycled, recycled and reclaimed materials, staff uniforms will be Fairtrade, organic and locally made and all of its takeaway packaging will be 100% compostable. 

Open Kitchen has earned huge respect in the North West over the past few years, evolving from a pop-up operation, to running its pioneering ‘pay-as-you-feel’ waste food restaurant on Oxford Street to becoming Manchester’s leading private and corporate conscious catering company

All profits subsidise its community-focused work, with Open Kitchen supporting independent food banks and homelessness support charities with meals, food and supplies. 

Its support was vital during the COVID-19 crisis, with Open Kitchen adapting its operating model to become part of the Manchester Emergency Food Response Team, producing over 140,000 meals to support local communities

A Real Living Wage Employer, Open Kitchen is signing up to the GM Good Employment Charter, with the ambition of creating decent, stable jobs in the hospitality sector.

By partnering with People’s History Museum, which shares its ideologies and principles, they aim to lead a radical change in the way Manchester considers, buys, eats and talks about food and drink.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with People’s History Museum on this exciting new venture,” says Corin Bell, founder and director at Open Kitchen.

“Affordable good food for all has always been something that we’re really passionate advocates for. 

“To site our new cafe within the museum of democracy, equality, and rights, especially as the debate about the Right to Food rages, just feels like a perfect fit.

“When you work in a huge environmental problem like food waste, you’re always sort of trying to put yourself out of a job by pushing to fix the broken system, hopefully to the point where food waste stops happening in the first place. 

“It felt important for us to start to demonstrate how we can change our food system to design out food waste. 

“We hope that by demonstrating how short supply chains, working directly with producers, buying local and seasonal, etc can reduce food waste, we can inspire people to change their habits around food.”

The new operation is also currently looking for staff to join the team.

“2020 has been devastating for the food, drink and hospitality sector, and it felt really important to us to commit to offer decent and stable jobs to good people as the economy recovers,” says James Bouchier, executive chef and director at Open Kitchen.

“We know that our ethics around supporting people and communities to be resilient and successful has to start in-house, and it’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about working with People’s History Museum.”

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