Shane Jordan is the 26-year-old head chef at the Arc Café in Bristol, where he is attracting diners – and rave reviews – for his ‘waste not want not’ style of cooking, along with innovative recipes and techniques.
His vegan and vegetarian dishes use unusual ingredients such as cauliflower stalks and potato skins, the ingredients that most chefs simply throw away.
His biggest success to date has been a banana curry, which features lightly sautéed banana – skins and all – in turmeric and paprika spices
After completing an OU course in humanities some time ago, Mr Jordan studied human nutrition last year, funding it through a part time job.
He said: “I liked how flexible the courses were, and have learned so much about myself while studying.
“Although the humanities taught me about philosophy and poetry, the Human Nutrition has probably played the biggest part in my life, teaching me about our bodies and our relationships with food. I am a vegetarian chef, so learning about the nutritional side of food really fascinated me.
“Since I passed the course, I have opened my mind to the social problems of nutrition in low income families, and looked at alternative replacements for products such as refined white sugar, refined salt and meat products. I am very interested in food waste issues, and want to be able to help improve the health of children from low income families.”
Shane, who has worked as a chef for the last three years, has become a passionate campaigner against food waste, and hopes his style of cooking will minimise the amount of waste produced by restaurants, which in turn cuts down on landfill, reduces rat problems and saves money.
The inspiration for his OU course and chef work came when he was volunteering with Bristol's branch of FoodCycle last year. He helped provide free meals to the public at the Easton Community Centre.
He aims to promote his ideas at food festivals and school visits, and was a guest chef in the junior Ready Steady Cook at this year’s annual VegFest UK in Brighton, where he was able to create a new level of awareness and understanding among young people.
In the future, Shane hopes to continue his studies and front health campaigns involving young people.