Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Hotel Case Study

An A1200 Food Waste Rocket Composter

Sector: Hospitality
Equipment:Gobi 400 Food Waste Dryer and A1200 Rocket Composter

The backstory

The famous, Michelin-Starred Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons based in Oxfordshire, is a luxury, 15th century hotel and restaurant run by well-known French TV chef, Raymond Blanc and his team.

The establishment has been at the forefront of culinary delight for many years and is driven by ethical and environmental values. It prides itself on its nose-to-tail approach to food – meaning no produce is left to go to waste. Adjacent to the manor, there are also on-site gardens – featuring up to 90 different herbs, fruits, and vegetables – and orchards, producing fresh food that is used in the inspirational dishes on Raymond’s menu.

The site is also home to the Raymond Blanc Cookery and Gardening Schools.

The challenge

Due to the vast amount of fresh produce used in the restaurant’s dishes, Le Manoir’s kitchens generate a huge amount of vegetable, fruit and meat-preparation waste every day – such as peelings, stalks, meat offcuts, and poultry bones.

There are also some regular – but more unusual – items that need some extra consideration, such as oyster shells, shellfish, chocolate, and lots of citrus peel.

Prior to investing in a Tidy Planet commercial composting solution, Le Manoir sent its food waste for anaerobic digestion (AD) but wanted an on-site alternative that would enable it to become even more self-sufficient.

The site prides itself in sourcing food locally, and there’s nowhere more local than your own garden. But the majority of compost being obtained for growing was from off site – and there was increasing concern over the quality of the material being supplied, as well as the carbon footprint associated with its production and transportation.

Therefore, its main aims were to minimise the off-site sourcing of ingredients and to be able to independently treat waste at its origin, to generate a compost resource for use in its gardens and orchards – which need specialist care and regular dressing of nutrient-rich compost.

Happy with compost produced

The solution

As a result, the restaurant got in touch with the team here at Tidy Planet, and we consulted with the Soil Association, to help determine the right solution.

The winning equipment for the composting of the site’s kitchen and garden wastes was an A1200 Rocket Composter, but for the unusual wastes – i.e. the blighted onions from the garden, lobster shells, and barrowloads of citrus peel – they also needed a Gobi 400 Food Waste Dryer.

This duo of machines allowed Le Manoir to close the food waste loop.

Firstly, the dryer is used to pre-treat the more difficult compostable wastes – crushing bones and shells and tackling used paper napkins with ease – and blends and homogenises the materials to turn them into compostable coffee-granule-sized particles. These are ingredients that would otherwise have been separated and removed by the screening system of an off-site anaerobic digestion plant, but which can now be processed by Le Manoir’s on-site in-vessel composter.

Additionally, the high temperature during the drying phase also guarantees fungal death, meaning the end result is an inert, stabilised, and odourless resource that’s ready for composting.
With the new equipment, the site can now process circa 100 tonnes of organic waste per year – generating 40-50 tonnes of compost for use in its grounds.

And as well as the environmental benefits, the restaurant also saved £9,000 in off-site disposal fees during the first year of the composter’s installation – reducing carbon emissions in the process, taking them one step up the waste hierarchy into ‘prevention’, and enabling them to produce a compost whose quality they had complete control over.

“Wherever possible, every aspect of Belmond Le Manoir is driven by ethical and environmental values. The Rocket Composter will not only enable us to implement a closed-loop system for our organic food wastes, but it will change our recycling and food waste culture, helping to further foster sustainable best practice.”

Rhodri Williams, Le Manoir’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment Manager