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Masterchef winner and Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean backs drive to cut food waste

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, Chef Gary Maclean and Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland Iain Gulland. (Stewart Attwood/Zero Waste Scotland/PA Wire)
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, Chef Gary Maclean and Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland Iain Gulland. (Stewart Attwood/Zero Waste Scotland/PA Wire)

MASTERCHEF winner Gary Maclean has teamed up with Zero Waste Scotland to try and cut the 60 million meals wasted in December.

Mr Maclean, Scotland’s first National Chef, has created a festive checklist designed to help minimise food waste and time spent in the kitchen.

It is estimated 3.5 million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings and more than 100,000 turkeys will be wasted over the festive season.

Zero Waste Scotland said that if saved from the dustbin, this could feed the entire population of Scotland from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and represents a potential collective saving of more than £90 million to Scottish households.

Mr Maclean’s waste-saving tips include cooking turkey upside down to prevent it from drying out, serving Christmas lunch “buffet-style” to enable guests to choose their preferred portion size and using up leftovers in tasty, easy-to-make party recipes like turkey spring rolls.

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The father-of-five, winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2016, said: “For me, Christmas Day isn’t about slaving away in the kitchen, it’s about spending time with family and the kids playing with Lego on the living-room floor!

“Planning ahead, not overcooking the turkey, getting portion sizes right and using a serving style that makes the post-dinner tidy-up incredibly easy are all on my festive food waste checklist.

“I encourage Scots to give the checklist a go to save time and money, and ultimately get the most out of their Christmas Day.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham urged people to think carefully to help tackle food waste.

She said: “It will no doubt provide Scots with food for thought that some 60 million meals are wasted in December every year.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has set an ambitious target to cut food waste by 33% by 2025.

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“I hope people will pay attention to these simple tips and advice so we can all do our bit to combat unnecessary food waste while enjoying the festive season with friends, family and loved ones.”

Mr Maclean’s tips including using zip-style sandwich bags, a home vacuum-packer and containers to store leftovers in your freezer or fridge, and buying a turkey that is smaller than the size you think you need.

Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland said: “The Zero Waste Scotland website is fully stocked with tips, tricks and advice on how to save time and money while preparing your Christmas dinner.

“Earlier this year we were delighted to have the backing of Olympic curling family the Muirheads, who encouraged Scots to go for gold in the fight against food waste by using their freezers.

“A simple solution to a nationwide issue – we encourage Scots to wrap up warm and get freezing.”