If you love meat, Blacklock is a carnivore’s paradise. A popular, busy restaurant with sites in both London’s City and Soho, its signature dish are meat chops, flattened with irons and seared over charcoal. The Soho site has also become a bit of an institution for a roast – last year, it won the Observer Food Monthly’s award for the best Sunday lunch.
Proper Oils has been collecting Blacklock’s used cooking oil since the restaurant was founded in 2014. We also deliver their fresh rapeseed oil, which the chefs use to flash-fry their trademark chops, and for making dressings too. The fresh oil is delivered when Proper Oils collects the waste cooking oil.
When it comes to managing their used cooking oil recycling, their biggest issue – as with many central London restaurants – is storage space. There just isn’t enough of it to store more than six barrels of used cooking oil.
The restaurant is in a basement, accessible via stairs, so the oil is stored in our 60-litre blue barrels, which our drivers carry up and down.
“We used to use empty oil tins,” says Mirek Dawid, its head chef, who works between the City and Soho sites. “But we discovered it’s much easier for our team to pour the used oil into the blue barrel – there’s far less spillage and mess.”
The restaurant also recycles beef fat, which they use to fry the customers’ chips. This fat is stored in a separate barrel.
The Blacklock team has come up with a rather ingenious way of transferring waste animal fats from frying the chops into the storage container.
When the chops are fried in the kitchen, the oils flow into a drainage tray, which is connected to a piece of copper piping. The pipe passes through the wall and drains out on the other side into a Proper Oils barrel.
“It helps keep mess to a minimum, saves time and cuts down on health and safety problems,” explains Mirek. “It’s important to use a wide pipe so that fat and meat dripping doesn’t get stuck, and can flow easily through it.”
When Proper Oils comes to collect the oil, the driver simply switches the barrel under the pipe for a clean, empty one, and it’s ready to go.
It won’t work for everyone, but it’s clear that in this case a nifty trick – and some Proper Oils teamwork – has made recycling a restaurant’s used cooking oil much easier.
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