After nose-to-tail dining – the food philosophy which set out to use all parts of the animal – it was perhaps inevitable that we’d get the vegetarian version, so say hello to root-to-stem. Adopting the same waste-not, want-not approach to greens that nose-to-tail chefs have to meat, root-to-stem uses every part of your humble fruit and veg – stalks, peels, rinds and all. Proponents claim that these commonly disregarded offcuts introduce a fresh palette of flavours and textures: Swiss chard stalks create a smoother, more ethereal houmous, for example, while asparagus tips add a tangy, delightfully pungent touch to relish.
This ecologically aware food trend has attracted a number of culinary advocates, including two new London restaurants: Native in Covent Garden and Tiny Leaf in Notting Hill, a zero-waste, vegetarian-only organic eatery. ‘We include the zest, peel, beet tops, skin and husks,’ says Justin Horne, Tiny Leaf’s executive chef and co-owner. ‘We only use organic fruit and vegetarian, which is better for our health, due to lack of pesticides, and has the added benefits of tasting better too.’