Hilton chef turns chicken guts into à la carte dishes to stop food waste

Head chef Paul Bates, right (Supplied )
Head chef Paul Bates, right (Supplied )

A top chef is turning fish heads, chicken hearts and croissants destined for food waste caddies into à la carte meals at a luxury central London hotel.

Paul Bates, 56, believes nothing should be thrown away in the battle to combat climate change – and would even cook squirrel and deer.

But for now the executive head chef at Hilton London Metropole is keeping those wild animals off his special menu – which is itself formed out of edible rice paper.

To mark Stop Food Waste Day on Wednesday, Mr Bates will have the guts to serve diners dishes made from salmon cheeks, chicken entrails and ox organs.

Vegetable tops, herbs stalks, potato peelings, bruised or overripe fruits are also used to make rich sauces.

Breakfast buffet pastries, bread and coffee beans will become mouth-watering puddings.

Craft beer served at the restaurant’s tables is brewed from grain in leftover loaves.

Mr Bates, who trained at the same Kent college as celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Nathan Outlaw, told the Standard, said: “This is fun and I think clients are quite open-minded to trying something different.

“When I first started, using salmon heads to make sauce was normal daily practice. Things like that have been lost from my industry. It’s great to get the younger guys involved. We go through 1,000 salmon a month, so there’s a lot of potential waste.

Ox heart dish being created by chef Paul Bates (Supplied)
Ox heart dish being created by chef Paul Bates (Supplied)

“Not even a strawberry goes in the bin. We also stuff the chicken legs and use the hearts.

“In Africa, when they kill an animal, everything is eaten. Kenyans cook lamb intestines. We’ve forgotten that and become very wasteful.”

When asked if he would roast squirrels or deer, Mr Bates - who started as a chef aged 16 - laughed: “It’s funny you should say that, but we were looking through an old game casserole cookbook. Squirrel used to be a regular form of food. But we wouldn’t do it here.

“As chefs, we are the catalysts for positive change and have the opportunity to set the bar for sustainable dining.”

The Metropole and sister hotel, London Hilton on Park Lane, have teamed up with The Felix Project, one of Britain’s largest food surplus distributors.

Last year, it rescued 13,400 tons of perfectly good-to-eat produce, the equivalent of 33 million meals, that would otherwise be thrown away.

As part of its Taste of Zero Waste initiative, Hilton will donate a meal to a person in need via the London-based charity for every dish purchased from the new menu.

Last year, the Standard - alongside Felix and its partner FareShare - launched a campaign during the cost-of-living crisis to make a substantive difference to families in the capital, particularly over school holidays.

Part of the exotic zero waste menu (Supplied)
Part of the exotic zero waste menu (Supplied)

An estimated 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed, according to the United Nations.

Emma Banks, a Hilton vice president, said: “The launch of these new menus marks another step in the global fight against food waste.

“Conscious dining isn’t just a trend – it’s a deeply held value that guides where we all choose to indulge and unwind.

“These dishes have been designed to demonstrate the best-in-class techniques in use across our hotels all over the world every day – brought together to raise awareness of our ambition to continue reducing food waste across our operations, simultaneously empowering guests to make more mindful choices and inspiring them to reduce waste in their own kitchen at home.”

Hilton plans to roll out the initiative across more hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by 2025.