People’s History Museum (PHM) is bringing a new food experience to the national museum of democracy and, with it, a sustainable food revolution by partnering with Manchester’s leading conscious food company, Open KitchenOpen Kitchen at People’s History Museum will be the first museum cafe and bar in the country that intercepts food that would otherwise go to waste.

People's History Museum Manchester

Image Courtesy of People’s History Museum

As a museum where ideas worth fighting for by change makers past, present and future are shared, explored and championed, People’s History Museum is the perfect fit for Open Kitchen, who are committed to fighting for a sustainable and fair food future.  Alongside working with a range of food businesses to source perfectly edible food that would otherwise go to waste, Open Kitchen purchases ingredients from a sustainable food chain - local, seasonal, organic, independent, short supply chains and Fairtrade - supporting other ethical businesses and social enterprises, making it the first of its kind in the UK to take this combined approach.

With a launch to coincide with the reopening of People’s History Museum on Wednesday 19 May, Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum will be a fresh and modern cafe and bar operating from the museum’s Spinningfields home overlooking the River Irwell.  It will celebrate sustainable and ethical produce with an all-day menu that caters for everyone, from museum visitors, to after work socialisers, families and digital nomads.  In the evening, the ambience will switch to offer table service drinks and small plates.

Katy Ashton, Director of People’s History Museum, says, “We are a values-driven organisation and we’re very excited for Open Kitchen to be taking its place within the national museum of democracy.  We share Open Kitchen’s passion, belief and dedication for access to good food for all and look forward to their brilliant food and drink offer being part of PHM. Through this innovative partnership we will continue to place communities at the heart of everything we do, advocating environmental responsibility, inclusion and access, and committing to fair pay as Real Living Wage Employers.”

The menu will be largely vegetarian and vegan, showcasing a smaller selection of meat dishes using Pasture for Life reared, locally sourced meat.  The menu will change seasonally, and Open Kitchen will be working directly with farms to highlight the beautiful sustainably produced veg and fruit that is already grown in the North West.

Sustainability feeds into every element of the cafe, with Open Kitchen at PHM’s fit out using upcycled, recycled and reclaimed materials, staff uniforms will be Fairtrade, organic and locally made and all of its takeaway packaging will be 100% compostable.

Open Kitchen has earned huge respect in the North West over the past few years, evolving from a pop-up operation, to running its pioneering ‘pay-as-you-feel’ waste food restaurant on Oxford Street to becoming Manchester’s leading private and corporate conscious catering company.  All profits subsidise its community-focused work, with Open Kitchen supporting independent food banks and homelessness support charities with meals, food and supplies.  Its support was vital during the Covid-19 crisis, with Open Kitchen adapting its operating model to become part of the Manchester Emergency Food Response Team, producing over 140,000 meals to support local communities.

A Real Living Wage Employer, Open Kitchen is signing up to the GM Good Employment Charter, with the ambition of creating decent, stable jobs in the hospitality sector. By partnering with People’s History Museum, which shares its ideologies and principles, they aim to lead a radical change in the way Manchester considers, buys, eats and talks about food and drink.

Corin Bell, Founder and Director at Open Kitchen, says, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with People’s History Museum on this exciting new venture.  Affordable good food for all has always been something that we’re really passionate advocates for.  To site our new cafe within the museum of democracy, equality, and rights, especially as the debate about the Right to Food rages, just feels like a perfect fit.”

Corin Bell continues, “When you work in a huge environmental problem like food waste, you’re always sort of trying to put yourself out of a job by pushing to fix the broken system, hopefully to the point where food waste stops happening in the first place.  It felt important for us to start to demonstrate how we can change our food system to design out food waste.  We hope that by demonstrating how short supply chains, working directly with producers, buying local and seasonal, etc can reduce food waste, we can inspire people to change their habits around food.”

Visual of how Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum will look

Visual of how Open Kitchen at People’s History Museum will look

James Bouchier, Executive Chef and Director at Open Kitchen, says, “2020 has been devastating for the food, drink and hospitality sector, and it felt really important to us to commit to offer decent and stable jobs to good people as the economy recovers.  We know that our ethics around supporting people and communities to be resilient and successful has to start in-house, and it’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about working with People’s History Museum.”

Both organisations will be sharing updates ahead of the opening of Open Kitchen at PHM.  You can keep up to date with the latest PHM news by signing up to receive its e-newsletter, subscribing to the blog, checking its website or following the museum on social media on Twitter @PHMMcr, Facebook @PHMMcr, and Instagram @phmmcr.

You can find the latest information and updates from Open Kitchen at;

@openkitchenmcr on socials