From Michelin starred Tim Bouget to Momofuku’s Chef and Founder David Chang, celebrity chefs are more than just masters at producing mouth-watering dishes—they’re also pros at reducing daily food waste in their restaurant, as well as in their home kitchen.
Ready to tap into some serious food waste wisdom from some of the best in the industry? Whether it’s nose-to-tail cooking or finding deliciously innovative ways to use leftover peels and skins, check out these 10 food waste hacks from celebrity chefs you’ll definitely want to steal for yourself
David Chang, owner of Momofuku and author of “Eat a Peach,” has been taking to Instagram to share some of his favourite food waste hacks, one of which tackles what to do with leftover scallion scraps. His solution? Do what Korean grandmothers have been doing for ages: dip the roots into a small glass of water and set it near a sunny window. New shoots will eventually grow, so you’ll always have scallions to cook with when you need them.
Having endured the repercussions of World War II in France, chef Jacques Pépin learned at a young age never to throw away perfectly good food – especially if it could be used to make another delicious dish.
As he points out in his book “Cuisine Économique: Recipes that Turn Penny-Pinching into a Delicious Experience,” buying fruits and veggies that are in season is a must. Not only do you get produce that are at their peak in terms of flavour, but they also come at a lower price tag since seasonal foods are less expensive.
Don’t let multi-Michelin starred chef Gordon Ramsay see you throw out that leftover chicken carcass! Sunday roast is sacred in the Ramsay household, and as he’s mentioned in multiple cooking shows, every ingredient you cook with should be treated with respect and used to its fullest potential. When it comes to roast chicken, Ramsay uses the nose-to-tail cooking method where, every part of the bird is used – from the giblets which, when roasted with leftover chicken juices, produce a deeply flavourful gravy, to the carcass which you can boil to make stock.
Award-winning chef Tim Bouget runs ODE, a three-time Sustainable Restaurant of the Year Cafe in Devon, UK where every dish served is made using food waste techniques that produce minimal environmental impact. One of his favourite waste hacks? Using aquafaba (aka chickpea liquid) as an alternative to egg whites to make zero-waste vegan mayonnaise.
Peels, rinds, skins… if food waste trailblazer Jareth Mills had it his way, we would all stop peeling our vegetables for the foreseeable future. As the head chef at The Roebuck in London, Mills reduces his restaurant’s carbon footprint by turning vegetable peels into new and innovative dishes.
Instead of discarding your potato skins, Mills suggests using the peels, along with the dark green tips of leeks (the parts we always throw out), to make a comforting roast potato-flavoured soup. Another tip of his includes reusing discarded bits of cheese rind by coating them in batter, deep frying them and serving them with a drizzle of truffle honey for a simple, yet stunning appetizer.
French chef Raymond Blanc is the President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and a big fan of dishes that use the entire ingredient, otherwise known as nose-to-tail cooking. When Blanc looks up recipes, he tries to opt for ones that use up all or at least most of the produce. One of his go-to recipes is pumpkin soup, which serves 4-6 people. The flesh is used for the soup, skin is used for the stock, and the seeds are toasted and used as a garnish. One delicious meal, zero waste. Now that’s what we call smart cooking!
To say British chef Oliver Gladwin is a fermentation aficionado, is an understatement. Walk into any of his restaurant kitchens and you’ll be greeted with shelves of colourful jars of fermented foods—from pickled goods to tasty preserves.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional chef, home cook, or have never cooked at all – fermentation is a fun, easy and delicious way for everyone to reduce their food waste. As Gladwin puts it, fermentation is a kitchen trick that allows you to use up any vegetable trim or peel and turn it into a snack, topping or condiment.
Ready to get experimenting? Start with our super easy fermented garlic honey recipe.
Julia Sedefdjian’s is no stranger to adopting innovative food techniques, where at 21, she became the youngest chef in France to be awarded a Michelin star. Her go-to food waste tip? Using your leftover cooked vegetables and mixing it with ground beef to make stuffing or meatballs. If you’re a vegetarian, Sedefdjian suggests replacing the meat with legumes like chickpeas, lentils, or beans. Simply cook everything in a hot pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Smart stacking is a food-saving storage technique that pro chef Jamie Oliver practices to reduce everyday food waste at home. As we all know from our Smart Stacking 101 Guide, your fridge has multiple compartments and shelves that each serve a purpose and have different temperature zones. The warmest part of your fridge is the top shelf where leftovers and deli meats should be stored, while the bottom shelf is the coldest and should be reserved for raw meat, poultry, and fish so it stays extra fresh.
The humble Buddha Bowl is chef Beena Paradin’s failsafe dinner hack for when you have a lot of leftovers in small portions (e.g. a handful of chicken, 3 baby tomatoes, a few leaves of lettuce, etc), but don’t quite know what to do with them. The beauty of this type of meal? It’s super quick and easy to whip up and can be made with any staple hiding in your cupboards—think chickpeas, basmati rice, couscous, or quinoa. Top your buddha bowl with a vinaigrette or sauce of your choosing and you have the perfect zero-waste dinner!
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