Tobie Puttock’s simple guide to a sustainable kitchen

WORDS: Sarah Tarca // @tarca

IMAGERY: Guy Lavoipierre // @guylavoipierre

Ella Olsson // Unsplash


If Tobie Puttock’s name rings a bell, well, it should. The chef/ author/ food guy and and has done stints at some of the world’s most renowned eateries including Hotel Florence, Melbourne’s Cafe e Cucina and the River Cafe where he met his good mate, Jamie Oliver.  Later he became head chef at Jamie’s Fifteen in London, and then headed up the Australian version and charitable foundation in Oz. Not to mention being a permanent feature on pretty much every food-related TV show.

But, it’s his passion for sustainability and ethical eating which really lights him up, and it was this that The Wayward sat down to talk to him about, ahead of his workshop at Superbloom Festival this weekend. Because, although we all want to live more sustainably, it’s not always realistic for us to have a compost and a worm farm deep in the urban centre. Here, Tobie shares his practical tips for a sustainable kitchen.


What does cooking sustainably mean to you?

“For me, cooking sustainably is taking responsibility for our actions. So in my house that starts with the shopping. I shop at Prahran Market and I take my own bags and do without plastic bags, always. When I’m cooking I try to waste nothing too. This is creatively awesome as it gets me thinking of new ways to use ingredients that may have previously made it to the bin. In fact,  I’ll be cooking at the Super Bloom Festival this coming weekend where I will demonstrate how to use of every part of a pumpkin including the skin in beautiful recipes.”


Where do you think Australia goes wrong when it comes to sustainability in the kitchen?

“I think a lot of Aussies talk the talk but aren’t great on the follow through. There are more recycling bins popping up for sure, but still a huge lack of drinking fountains to fill up reusable water bottles and so on. I think we have a long way to go compared to many of the Scandinavian countries and some of the Asian countries such as Japan.”


Which country do you think is getting it right?

“All the Scandi countries are leading the way. Finland, Sweden, Iceland and more have been taking positive steps to protect the environment for many years including banning plastic bottles, bags and packaging.”


“I think we have a long way to go compared to many of the Scandinavian countries..”


For those feeling overwhelmed by the thought, what’s a simple way to start a sustainable kitchen?

“Just start a little at a time. For me a great start is recycling properly and composting. Soft plastics go separately and can be dropped in at most major supermarkets - there will be a specially marked bin for these, the same bin where you can leave plastic bags for recycling. For food it’s easy, eat less meat. No one’s asking you to give up completely, but cutting down will have a hugely positive impact on the environment and you will feel so much better for it. Nothing bad can come from doing this and it’s easy.”


Tobie’s top five for cooking and eating sustainably:

  1. Plan what you are going to eat in advance,  and plan a few meals at a time so that leftover cauliflower has a home to go to.

  2. Eat more veggies.

  3. Don’t eat any processed foods.

  4. Shop at markets as much as possible and support local.

  5. Eat seasonally.



Tobie is appearing at the inaugral Superbloom Festival in Melbourne’s Abbotsford Convent. To see him, or one of the other inspiring speakers lined up for the weekend of wellness, get your tickets here.

Emma Vidgen