If you’re aiming to be more Earth-friendly this year, you can follow the examples of chefs who have committed to reducing food waste and making them greener in their kitchens.
Of course, it’s true that many of us – including these chefs – can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the problems facing our planet, but only one person can They said a difference. Consider this idea from the cookbook author and chef Robin Aspel, who told HuffPost: “It’s easy to feel like one person in a sea of billions. But for every plastic bottle by the thousands thrown into the ocean by someone who thinks that way. Instead, do what you can, and try to influence the people around you to do what they can.” Your food choices have power, so use that power to make a difference.”
Eliminating food waste can be a good overall goal for the coming year. Alison Mountford, Chef and Founder It ends and stemsA digital meal-planning platform that helps home cooks reduce food waste said food waste in landfills emits methane, a greenhouse gas at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. “Food waste decomposes in landfill without oxygen, and if this waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world,” She told HuffPost.
Here’s a bonus: There’s a “green lining” in store for your wallet if you follow some of these tips. All of these chef’s suggestions are not only good for the earth, but they’ll save you money as well. Here are some smart ways to do your part:
Tip #1: Start an inventory bucket
Asbell introduced a green practice she learned while working as a soup and dish in a French-inspired restaurant: using a stock bucket. “All the trimmings of onions, celery, carrots, zucchini, parsley stems, and herbs were always kept in a bucket at this restaurant,” she said. “It’s a way of creating value from what would have been a waste. At home, I try – although I’m not always perfect – to use garnishes to make soup broth. Whatever I don’t use in cooking, I’m composting.”
Tip 2: Master some refrigerator cleaning recipes
“If you’re going to be cooking from start to finish, you need to get comfortable with some method of removing the refrigerator before the food spoils,” Mountford said. Think of it like the way chefs create a “daily special” to reduce inventory in restaurant kitchens. Some suggested recipes from Mountford include: pasta sauce, pizza toppings, quick stir-fry, frittata, soup or dinner plate with easy sauce.
Tip #3: Eat a restaurant staff meal – at home
“If you’re an eco-friendly chef, whether in a professional kitchen or at home, you’re always on the lookout for waste, looking for ways to improve and keep up with the latest information,” Rob Connolly, chef and owner of bulrush restaurant, tOld HuffPost. Located in St. Louis, his restaurant focuses on the forage and fishing foods rooted in Ozark traditions.
He suggested following the example of “family meals” in a restaurant, when employees eat together before the service begins. These meals often use extra ingredients or those that make it to their best date. “In a professional kitchen, anyone on the staff may be asked to prepare a family meal, so it often becomes an eclectic and varied alternation of unfamiliar but satisfying meals,” he said. “At home, assign your children to be part of the rotation and decide what to make for a family meal one night each week. One of their creations may become your new favorite.”
Tip #4: Plan More, Buy Less
“Chefs keep a close eye on their inventory, because margins are very thin in professional kitchens,” Mountford said. “If they spend 2% more on food that isn’t essential, that could potentially cut their earnings in half.” Take advice from the chefs by writing a plan for the week, then check your inventory before you leave to go grocery shopping. “Our memories are flawed, and we tend to overbuy,” she said. “If I only buy what you’re going to use, you won’t feel like ‘I wish I was the person I thought I was when I bought all these veggies.'” “
Tip #5: Keep everything visible (but not with plastic wrap)
Anne Marie BonoDubbed the “Zero Waste Chef,” he said one way to use up your food and avoid waste is to store leftovers and other ingredients in glass jars. “Opaque eating containers mean it’s easier to forget something in the fridge,” she said. “If you notice a large refrigerator in a commercial kitchen or restaurant kitchen, you’ll see that everything is easy to see, named and dated.”
She added that if you used to use plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover leftovers, the lids on those jars would help you avoid that. In her plastic-free kitchen, she does well with placing an upside-down dish over a bowl of cooled dough, or using a small Dutch oven to roast the beets, rather than covering them in foil first.
Start small, but please start
“Don’t worry about being perfect, because that’s impossible,” Bono concluded. “I get questions from people who feel really guilty about a supply chain and diet they didn’t create. Just do what you can and make some change for the good.”
Aspel added, “Always start with small steps. You can’t save the world on your own, and you can’t change your entire life overnight, so give yourself some grace. Choose some habits that are relatively easy to change, like switching to a refillable water bottle, or bringing bags of water.” Reusable shopping to the store. Give yourself a pat on the back when you follow through, and if you hold back, forgive yourself and start over.”