A soup disco has been held in Elephant and Castle, London, in a style which is growing popular in Europe.
The disco is a fun way for communities to get together to tackle food waste.
DJs and soup
The Mercato Metroplitano was staffed by volunteers and customers who came looking to shop when the soup disco came to town. The Friday session at the food market and bar gave everyone a chance to take part in something very unusual indeed.
Professional chefs took time off from their food jobs to direct proceedings, while DJs from the Ministry of Sound nightclub took care of the music for their background entertainment. They chopped vegetables, tore up basil leaves, tripped, prepped, and washed, all in the name of community food.
The soup discos are becoming a global movement, in which unused vegetables are collected from the local area. These may come from markets, farms, bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets, or anyone else who will donate them. The hundreds of kilos of vegetables need to be used up before they go bad, but what is to be done with them? Turning them into a soup is a great option, but it requires a lot of manpower.
That’s where the volunteers come in. They chop and prep throughout the day, with the vegetables going into huge soup pans, and then at night they dance at the disco with free hot soup for everyone who attends. Any soup left over after the night is done will be donated to local charities.
Making the soup
More than 1,000 people attended this soup disco, which was arranged by over 100 volunteers over the course of a month. Head chef was Samuel Hodges, who oversaw the cooking until 11pm, when all the vegetables had been processed.
The market’s normal configuration was abandoned and, instead, it was transformed into something that those with production and manufacturing jobs would recognise. There was a preparation and chopping area, a crafts centre, the giant soup pans each holding up to 250 litres, and the feast kitchen.
The idea of a disco soup started in Berlin five years ago as a protest against food waste. That first event was a huge success with more than 8,000 people benefitting from the food, and led to the idea becoming a global phenomenon.
Andrea Rasca, the founder of Mercato, said before the event: “Disco soup is a global movement that celebrates delicious solutions to food waste. It’s fun with a serious message. We will be collecting surplus food from companies and farms both in London and within surrounding counties which would otherwise be wasted, and creating a delicious meal which is free for all, to demonstrate that surplus food can be turned into something wonderful. It’s fortunate that our next-door neighbours happen to be Ministry of Sound, and when we told them about the concept, they were delighted to offer their DJs to come and spin some tunes, so everyone can bop while they chop.”
Pascale Robinson, the event coordinator at Feedback, said: “The ethos of disco soup is that through chopping, cooking together, you can show how important and easy it is to tackle food waste. Tristram Stuart, the founder of Feedback, once said that in order to save the planet you have to throw a better party than the people who are ruining it. So the aim of today is to show all of the creative ways that we can tackle food waste. That’s through a delicious shared meal but also through workshops, drop-in sessions, a panel discussion, a kids parade, a pop quiz, and having a dance at the end as well.”