At Essential Cuisine, we are all about celebrating chefs. We’ve always thought that there’s something special about chefs - their passion, their creativity, their resilience and natural ability to adapt to every circumstance imaginable. During the course of the pandemic, we have shared some incredible stories from chefs across the industry and today, we’d like to give Tracy Buggins a special mention.
After Mount Pleasant Golf Club in Henlow closed its doors due to restrictions stemming from the Coronavirus pandemic, Tracy immediately thought about how he could use his skills to make a difference. He came across “Best Before Café”, a group of volunteers from Letchworth who work tirelessly to ensure surplus or unsold food doesn’t go into landfill. The team receive food donations from supermarkets and manufacturers, and turn these ingredients into nutritious meals for individuals from all walks of life.
Tracy added, “I’ve been cooking for over 50 years, so I wanted to put my skills to good use and this charity has allowed me to do just that. Each month the organisation saves almost 7 tonnes of food from going into landfill. We save vegetables, bread, biscuits, tins… the list goes on. The goods are collected each Friday, it is only then when I can start menu planning. Each week is different and I have to make the most out of the ingredients we receive. Essential Cuisine’s range of sauces and seasonings have allowed us to add a much needed flavour boost to our frozen meals – people can’t get enough of our cottage pie and sweet potato curry!”
Tracy and the team deliver up to 50 crates of food per week, each containing ingredients nearing sell by dates, partially damaged goods and ready meals. The crates are always welcomed and individuals are encouraged to make a small donation if they can.
Team Leader, Wendy Turner has been liaising with Tracy for many years during his time as a chef at Mount Pleasant Golf Club. She said, “We are so proud of the work that Trace and the team are doing at Best Before Café, they are not only preventing a huge amount of produce from going into landfill, but changing many lives in the process. We hope that our versatile stocks and seasonings will add a complimentary flavour boost to Tracy’s menu. People like Tracy are making a valuable difference during these hard times and we are delighted to be able to help.”
If you would like to make a donation, please get in touch with Tracy – [email protected]