Many chefs talk about sustainability, but only a few back this up with serious action. Douglas McMaster is the pioneering chef behind the UK's first zero-waste restaurant, SILO, and the author of The Zero Waste Blueprint. Doug's obsession with reducing waste means that SILO famously has no bin - everything is either used or composted. But, it also leads him to scrutinise the entire supply chain from every angle.
After 5 years in Brighton, SILO has just completed a relocation to London's Hackney Wick, where renovating the new site meant lots of research into materials. From mycelium (mushroom) furniture to recycled plastic counters, the interiors follow the same uncompromising zero-waste philosophy.
We were kindly introduced to Doug and his team back in March 2019 (thanks Lizzie), as they were looking for staff aprons that wouldn't need to go in the washing machine - saving both energy and water. Our goat leather, hard-wearing and created from a waste stream, fit the bill perfectly and our brief included a slight adjustment to the shape of our classic apron and the removal of the tea towel strap. There are no tea towels at Silo, so they are using chamois leather scraps that we also helped them source. Secretly, we think Doug might have been more excited by this novel solution than the aprons, but we didn't want to delve any deeper!
We absolutely love this type of bespoke project as it brings together everything that Billy Tannery stands for - from fighting waste to reconnecting leather with the food chain this had it all. It was especially exciting to get involved with SILO as they were building the new site in Hackney Wick as it meant we had a behind-the-scenes look at the detail that goes into such an ambitious project.
We can't wait to get over to SILO to see our aprons in action and to try dishes that currently include 'Barbecued carrots with egg yolk fudge' and a main of 'braised Fresian dairy cow'. We also hear that the porridge on their brunch menu is worth the trip alone. Awards are surely incoming.
Discover more about our goat leather aprons.
If you are reading this and wondering if you should get in touch to discuss a bespoke project of any kind, then please head over to our contact form as we'd love to chat. Other recent bespoke leather projects have included tortilla warmers for Santiago Lastra and Kol, his upcoming Mexican restaurant and a full set of menus, bill presenters and coasters for Akoko, a West African restaurant also coming soon to London.