Hackney Wick chef launches dinner series...with a twist

A sign prohibiting entry to a site due to the presence of Japanese Knotweed

A sign prohibiting entry to a site due to the presence of Japanese Knotweed - Credit: PA

A chef is launching a series of three-course dinners themed on invasive species - and the first will focus on Japanese knotweed.

The herbaceous perennial plant, which looks a bit like bamboo, can quickly spread and become hard to get rid of after growing from underground roots.

This - combined with an infamous refusal to die - has built its reputation as one of the world's most invasive plants which has been known to damage properties. 

Now Douglas McMaster, chef and owner of Hackney Wick's zero-waste restaurant Silo, is transforming the horticultural pest into a three-course dinner.

Japanese knotweed was introduced from Japan in the 19th century, and can grow an inch a day

Japanese knotweed was introduced from Japan in the 19th century, and can grow an inch a day. Its roots can penetrate 15 feet into the ground and new ones grow from tiny fragments - Credit: PA

A special meal on April 5 will be the first in an invasive ingredients series at the eatery, which operates out of The White Building in Queen's Yard.

Douglas said: “Using ingredients that are in excess is the most sustainable way to cook.

"By selecting invasive species we contribute to a healthier environment, not only by reducing the waste caused by destroying them, but by protecting the rich biodiversity of our native species."

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On such ingredients, which include crayfish, jellyfish and venison, he added: "These are aggressive predators. Fortunately they are delicious."

Tickets cost £65 from bit.ly/3IA2Jua.