Belmont Club

Breakfast of champions

WRAP your head around this. The Telegraph reports that “food champions” will literally be coming to homes in Britain to make sure they don’t throw away leftovers, eat spoiled groceries and do not otherwise harm the planet.

Home cooks will also be told what size portions to prepare, taught to understand “best before” dates and urged to make more use of their freezers.

The door-to-door campaign, which starts tomorrow, will be funded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a Government agency charged with reducing household waste.

The officials will be called “food champions”. However, they were dismissed last night as “food police” by critics who called the scheme an example of “excessive government nannying”.

In an initial seven-week trial, eight officials will call at 24,500 homes, dishing out advice and recipes. The officials, each of whom has received a day’s training, will paid up to £8.49 an hour, with a bonus for working on Saturdays.

The pilot scheme, which will cost £30,000, could be extended nationwide if it is seen as a success. If all 25 million households in the UK were visited in the same way, 8,000 officials would be required at a cost of tens of millions of pounds. … The project is part of WRAP’s “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign, which has so far cost £4 million. The organisation says food waste has a significant environmental impact, in terms of the carbon generated to grow, transport and package items and the cost of having to dispose of them. It has calculated that stopping food waste could reduce the annual emission of carbon dioxide by 18 million tonnes – the same effect as taking one in five cars off the roads.

In other developments, some restaurants in Britain are using CCTV cameras to gather evidence against diners who complain about poor food and service in their establishments. One woman, sent a letter complaining of bad food, poor service and high prices said, “she was left astonished by the restaurant’s response. Simon Offen, the catering manager, emailed her to say he disputed her version of events after he had ‘watched and listened with interest to the video recording of her table’.” The British Hospitality Association believed the practice of recording the mastications of diners at their tables “odd”.

“The service was terrible,” Mrs Fletcher wrote in her letter of complaint. “We waited 20 minutes at our table until we were asked what we would like to drink.” In an attempt to get some service, Mrs Fletcher went over to three waiters who she said were “lolling about” in another part of the restaurant, only to be told that they worked only for their “half” of the restaurant.

When the cold drinks the family ordered finally arrived they came in glasses that were hot.

More problems followed. “My husband’s soup was lukewarm,” Mrs Fletcher said. “My son’s mushroom pancakes were bland. “The roast pork portions were mean – just one slice – and the gravy was thick and tasted not unlike Oxo gravy. “The vegetables were terrible. They tasted as though they were cooked well in advance and then heated up. My dessert was tasteless.” The total cost of the outing, including the meal, parking and a walk around the grounds, was £134.

Such bad food and in such small portions, too. I wonder what the Food Champions would make of it.