Food waste is a topic I take very seriously, both in the workplace and at home. I believe if an issue is important to you as a consumer, it should be equally as important to you as a chef.
Throughout my career in foodservice, I’ve learned some helpful tips and tricks to lead an efficient kitchen with as little wasted food as possible. It all starts with understanding your business and knowing your diners. Preparing food in appropriate quantities based on order history and customer preferences is the first step in running a more sustainable operation. If you know how much food to order, you can cut costs and waste. Don’t worry—there are lots of programs and technologies available today to help you keep track.
Proper training is another way to cut back on wasted food. Your kitchen staff should be preparing food carefully, not haphazardly. Make sure proteins and vegetables are trimmed and cut properly, but also use those trimmings in other recipes where cut or size may not matter, like soups and chilis.
There’s no such thing as perfection, though—accidents do happen. Just be ready for when they do. I remember a time in the kitchen when fresh fish was accidentally cut too small. Instead of wasting it, we made ceviche. Having a backup plan for excess inventory or mistakes is crucial. And remember, you can always donate anything extra to your local food bank.
Talk to you soon!