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When we got the phone call to ask if we would like to get involved in such an important project that shared our thoughts and concerns about sustainability in commercial catering, we jumped right in to see what could be done.

Initially we worked with renowned Manchester Chef, Mary-Ellen McTague and Project Director Corin Bell on a site in the Ancoats area of the city. However with unfortunate delays to that site we then had to react very quickly when an alternative site became available in the city centre.

Now, at CHR we very much believe in the old principle of Together Everyone Achieves More and we knew that the other members of our trade association CEDA would also like to get behind such a project.  Our MD, Paul Neville, contacted them to see if other member companies and manufacturers had time, expertise or equipment to offer.  All in keeping with Real Junk Food’s approach of upcycling and trying to make sure nothing goes to waste.


For our part we agreed to design and project manage the install at no cost to the project.

As we’d hoped, our amazing industry came forward to help. Offers of equipment, fabrication, transport and time soon came in.  Click here to read our thank you to all that got involved.

A short term, basement kitchen in a grade 2 listed building with limited power, tricky access and the feeling of trying to do a jigsaw where the pieces keep changing, were all aspects of this site that provided challenges. However, CHR and all involved, rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in to help RJFM get open.

Corin Bell, Project Director said of our help and support, “We’ve been told that the average spend on a new restaurant fit out is anywhere from £150,000 to £500,000. The amazing help and support we’ve received from CHR and other wonderful companies has allowed us to deliver a seriously cool city centre venue, and that’s everything from kitchen to decor, for £33,000, which is just insane! More than just allowing us to open a full time restaurant, which is amazing in itself, this collaboration has allowed us to really demonstrate what Real Junk Food is all about. This is what a community can do when it pulls together. We’re endlessly grateful to Pete and the team, and next time we do this we’ll try very hard not to schedule the opening to coincide with Pete’s wedding!”

This was not a “normal” job for us by any stretch of the imagination, but the Real Junk Food Manchester restaurant is now open at 85 Oxford Street, M1 6EQ, and they have already been named as runner up in the Observer Food Monthly, Best Ethical Food Project, and nominated for recycling project of the year in the Manchester Be Proud Awards.

And that Ancoats site?

Watch this space…..