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HomeCultureIt's binnertime again!

It’s binnertime again!

Kate Wills gives notice of a very special culinary event at the end of the month…

You are cordially invited to Elsie’s Triple Binner. In fact it is Elsie’s biggest ever binner!

OK, so lest readers think that’s a misprint, a binner is a three-course high-quality dinner created from food destined for the bin, hence ‘binner’.

Elsie’s Café is the catering and food rescue arm of Fruitful Abundance, a non-profit community interest company (CIC) which promotes educational projects and sustainable food systems.

Their most high-profile project is the popular Elsie’s Café in Market Street Community Rooms, Northampton, whose volunteers rescue surplus and short-dated food, turn it into good hearty fare, or offer it to the public on their food boutique.

Without Elsie’s efforts, this perfectly edible food would have been thrown in a skip and ploughed into landfill. In Christmas week alone they rescued 3.4 tonnes of food, mostly from supermarkets. The rescued food cannot be sold, so meals and boutique items are all offered to the public for a donation. Anyway, back to that biggest ever binner.

desserts and banner logos

Elsie’s Triple Binner will be held from 7pm in three pubs on Monday 28th January. The pubs are all part of the Perfect Country Pub group, and it is a tribute to Elsie’s that owner Joe Buckley, himself a chef and demonstrator at food festivals, has handed them his award-winning premises for the big event.

The Fruitful Abundance philosophy echoes Joe Buckley’s own feelings about food and education.

“As a company we are massively passionate about giving back to local schools to help inspire the next generation and share our love for food with them. We go into schools and work with the students to set up their own restaurant for the day.

“They learn how to cost, prepare, cook, clean, organise, motivate and serve up to 60 invited guests, which they absolutely love, and soon forget the hard work and commitment that it teaches them”.

The pubs hosting Elsie’s Triple Binner are the Red Lion at Yardley Hastings, the White Horse at Tilbrook (near Higham Ferrers), and the Tollemarche Arms at Harrington, winner of the 2018 Charles Wells Pub of the Year.

The bars will be open as usual in all three, and the pubs’ own chefs will mastermind the creation of three restaurant-quality courses, plus specials for various dietary needs.

Binners are a major fundraiser for Elsie’s Cafe, whose expenditure is set to soar. They will shortly open a ‘sharehouse’ in a former shop in Northampton, where the public can obtain the rescued food, and they hope to purchase a refrigerated van to enable further rescue and storage of perishables.

mains beef by Burnt Lemon chefs Moulton College binner March 2018
Beef by Burnt Lemon chefs Moulton College binner March 2018

Elsie’s are leaders in their field. Elsie’s was Northamptonshire’s first ‘Real Junk Food’ Cafe, and now others have been established across the county, under the guidance and encouragement of Fruitful Abundance.

£15 will assure a reservation at the set-place binner, a memorable evening and a great social event. In case you need an excuse for a treat, 28th January is Australia Day, and shortly after Burns Night, so bring along your Antipodean and Scottish friends.

The nature of Elsie’s operation makes it impossible to publish precise menus until nearer the time; however, founder Shena Cooper tells me “We rescued a large number of pheasants from local shoots over Christmas. These will be supplied to all three venues though obviously the chefs make the final decision. As usual a vegan alternative will be available. We cater for all dietary preferences, so enjoy a fabulous tasty 3 course meal cooked from the quality food that we prevent being sent to landfill”.

Fifty places are available at each venue.

To book please email binners@fruitfulabundance.org, stating your preferred venue, number of places, and dietary requirements (vegetarian, gluten-free etc). We will try to reply within 48 hours with a confirmation and payment details.

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