THE PROCESSES OF SILO - THE WORLD'S FIRST ZERO-WASTE RESTAURANT
Silo, founded by Douglas McMaster in 2016, is delighted to share an insight into the processes and procedures that help the restaurant and its team operate with a food gross profit 20% higher than industry standard. With a revolutionary approach to food waste that has long been revered and recognised within the global dining scene, each individual element of the menu and restaurant is carefully considered with closing the waste ‘loop’ in mind.With a flavour-forward approach to each dish, the Silo team work tirelessly to create a space in which functionality and creativity work in tandem within the restaurant’s own food system, using time honoured processes to constantly innovate their approach to sustainability.
Changing public perception of what we consider as ‘waste’ is a huge part of Silo’s ethos. McMaster and team are firmly committed to the thought that Silo does not cook with waste, but instead uses each ingredient to its full potential.
Utilising their groundbreaking approach to in-house ferments, the Silo team create a weekly changing menu entirely based around what is, and moreover, what should be available to them at the time of year. The menu creation process is cyclical, designed with a consideration for the full lifespan of every ingredient.
This is perfectly encapsulated in the Siloaf ice cream sandwich, made using surplus cuts from the Silo bread and butter course and therefore bookending the entire menu. The bread is left to soak in water for two days until it begins to ferment into a Marmite-like substance, added to sugars to produce a salty-sweet, umami -filled caramel. Following this, buttermilk taken as a by-product of Silo’s home-churned butter is caramelised into a Dulche de leche ice cream, before it is sandwiched in between two wafers made from remnant bran, a by-product of the flour milled in the restaurant. The result is a bright, sweet and silky dessert, which can be enjoyed as part of the 11-course, £65 tasting menu, or the 6-course, £45 ‘Short List’ set menu.
Taking the ‘uglier’ parts of waste ingredients, McMaster and team rely on the fermentation process to transform unused ingredients into something other; something delicious, something beautiful, something which elevates flavours, and ultimately decreases the restaurant’s waste from what is typically 30% to 3%.
In the rear of the restaurant, Silo house-ferment garums, misos, sauerkrauts and shoyu, all of which are used to enhance and define dishes across the menu. Koji, the activated fungus, is the key to these ferments, used as a starter to energise the process.
Surplus meat, whey, fish bones and offcuts are turned into garums. Currently on the menu, Heritage carrots served with a house-made garum made from the bones of chicken wings, the garum adding a complex, fruity flavour and depth to the dish.
When the Koji is spent, it too sees a new life - this time upcycled once more to form the base of the Silo Quaver. The Koji is sieved from the ferments and dried into sheets, before it is deep fried to a puffy crisp. Smeared with a Vegetable treacle made from boiled and reduced vegetable peelings, the Quaver is finished with a grated, frozen Dorstone goat’s cheese before plating. The Quaver begins every meal at Silo; an umami, sweet and cheesy bite that sets precedent for what is to come.
CLOSING THE LOOP
Within the restaurant itself, each element is created with a need to upcycle products, packaging and furnishings that would have otherwise gone to landfill. The central bar and dining tables are made from recycled plastic packaging, supported by cork and ash wood legs, light shades are formed from seaweed and mycelium, a fungus that grows upon brewing grains,
When wine bottles are emptied at the table, they are taken to the building’s resident potter to be crushed and melted into decorative furnishings, and now, following countless prototypes, serveware and cutlery. All flour is milled on-site, oats steeped in water to create homemade oat milk, an on-site brewery creating drinks from house ferments, further closing the loop on Silo’s own food system.
In Douglas’ words, Silo demonstrates that ‘sustainability isn’t only possible, but that it can exist without compromise.’
Please contact Chloe for more information Chloe@gemmabellandcompany.com
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