Award-winning Caterer and Irish TV Chef, Orla McAndrew, has launched a brand new thought-provoking Irish wedding concept. Through her high-end event catering business, Orla McAndrew Food, she is now offering sustainably-conscious couples across the country the chance to opt for a five-star zero waste wedding meal on their big day, created using rescued surplus produce.
Currently, one third of all food produced globally – 1.3 billion tonnes – ends up in landfill. Fuelled by her own personal passion to run a hospitality business with sustainability at its core, from the get-go Orla has made a concerted effort to minimise her waste output as much as she possibly can. Whether that be creating seasonally-driven menus showcasing the country’s best artisan producers, calculated portioning, growing her own produce, fermenting, pickling, or composting, over the last three years Orla has laid the groundwork for her latest offering.
Now, inspired by fellow zero waste advocate Giselle Makinde (Founder, Cream Of The Crop Food) and sustainable Chef, Conor Spacey, and having taken advice from industry expert Amy Irwin (Conscious Kitchens), Orla has decided to take her approach to conscious catering one step further. In addition to her existing bespoke packages, she is now offering couples a five-star wedding experience with a difference; one that saves perfectly good to eat surplus food from landfill and has a positive impact on the environment in an area of the industry often associated with excess and wastage.
Rather than selecting their wedding menu months in advance, conscientious newlyweds will instead put their complete trust in Orla and her team to create show-stopping surplus feasts that will only be revealed to them and their guests the week of their wedding. And, the same goes for all of her other clientele too, with Orla choosing to make her new five-star zero waste offering available across the board.
A number of high-profile suppliers and artisan producers have already bought into Orla’s new concept, coming onboard because they too want to help make a positive impact on reducing food waste and raising awareness of the huge issue that this poses environmentally. They include Sustainable Seafood Ireland (SSI), La Rousse Foods, St. Tola Goat Cheese (Ennistimon, Co. Clare), Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Milk & Yoghurt (Rockfield, Co. Mayo), Cork Rooftop Farm (Cork city), Waterfall Farms (Waterfall, Co. Cork), Michael Twomey Butchers (Macroom, Co. Cork), Horgan’s Delicatessen (Mitchelstown, Co. Cork), and many more.
Orla, who aspires to rescue as much surplus as possible and grow her supply chain even further, is keen to hear from and work with suppliers and artisan producers nationwide to ensure that her work has as big an impact as possible. These businesses will then supply Orla McAndrew Food with surplus, perfectly good to eat ingredients throughout the year, enabling her to save quality produce from needlessly ending up in landfill. Instead, Orla will showcase and elevate these ingredients as part of an utterly unique dining experience for both newly married couples and day-to-day catering clients daring enough to trust in her creative skill and expertise.
Orla guarantees that all of the zero waste menus she creates for weddings, family celebrations and corporate events, will be prepared using a minimum of 80% surplus produce. The remainder will be supplemented by dry ingredients and store cupboard staples with long shelf lives. By weight, she estimates that the average three-course zero waste wedding meal for 150 guests will save as much as 225kg of surplus food from ending up in landfill.
Recently named Network Ireland Cork’s ‘Creative Professional’ Businesswoman of the Year for 2022, Orla is of the opinion that she creates her best food when she is limited in the ingredients that she has access to. She is incredibly excited not only at the prospect of designing menus for couples that will save quality produce from going to waste but that will also help shift people’s perceptions.
Commenting on the launch of her company’s new Zero Waste Wedding offering, Orla McAndrew said: “After many months of planning, I’m beyond excited to finally be able to offer this brand new zero waste concept to Irish couples. As an advocate for sustainable practices and positive change, launching something that will help save hundreds of kilos of perfectly wonderful Irish produce from ending up in landfill, without ever compromising on quality or taste, is a complete no brainer for me.”
Orla McAndrew Food’s new five-star Zero Waste Wedding Menu packages are available for parties of 90+ guests within Munster, and 140+ guests across the country, with no maximum limit, and all special dietary requirements catered for. Orla will make a 5% donation to her charity partner, The Peter McVerry Trust, on behalf of every couple that books one of her Zero Waste Wedding packages. Her five-star zero waste day-to-day event catering will be limited to locations within Munster for the time being, with packages available for 40+ guests.
About Orla McAndrew Food
Cork-based mother-of-three, Orla McAndrew, has a degree in Business & Culinary Arts, a Diploma in Speciality Food Production (from University College Cork), and a postgraduate Diploma in Food Marketing & Rural Development. Her commitment to the provenance and the quality of her food is unquestionable, so much so that she has become a regular contributor to The Today Show on RTÉ in recent months.
Orla fell into event catering by accident a little over three years ago following a chance encounter with a bride-to-be on the lookout for someone to provide food for her upcoming wedding. She jumped at the opportunity and, despite her lack of experience back then, Orla’s willingness and ability to excite people with her food offering has seen her fledgling business succeed – offering brides and grooms the opportunity to create their own completely bespoke and unique wedding days.
With more than fifteen large-scale weddings under her belt as well as numerous family and corporate events, the growth of Orla’s business was recently acknowledged by Network Ireland Cork as their ‘Creative Professional’ Businesswoman of the Year for 2022. She will now go on to represent Cork at the National Finals in October.