Why Waste? Practical Tips for Young Chefs
Massimo Bottura and team on how to tackle food waste and boost creativity.
More than a billion tonnes of food is wasted every year — while much of this occurs in the home, over a quarter of all wastage is down to restaurants. In a world where many continue to go hungry, these statistics present a problem for Michelin-starred chef and Osteria Francescana chef patron, Massimo Bottura, who believes young chefs and restaurateurs can be a force for positive change.
In the latest Academy seminar Why Waste? For Pros, Bottura and his team of chefs called upon members to take more active steps towards combating food waste and offered advice on smart food preparation and sustainable menu design.
The vibrant Italian chef assured members that, with a few simple changes, food waste can be transformed into amazing meals.
His advice: “Stay connected because through knowledge, consciousness, sense of responsibility, and a bit of creativity, we can change the world. Because we are the revolution.”
Jessica Rosval, chef at Casa Maria Luigia in Modena, Italy outlined how chefs can reduce waste by making smart purchasing decisions, supporting organic and biological growing practices, and educating diners on conscious meat consumption.
“65% of consumers want to eat sustainably and are willing to spend 10% more on that, so there’s no reason to continue to work in unsustainable ways,” she said.
While it can be difficult to break the familiar cycle of regular dishes, Franceschetta 58 chef, Francesco Vincenzi, advised that short, seasonal menus can also help to tackle food waste. He urged chefs to get creative with meat substitutes and shared tips on how to get the most of individual ingredients.
Meanwhile, Osteria Francescana sous chef, Takahiko Kondo, warned members that restaurants that fail to implement sustainable waste management strategies will see a decline in profits. He explained how smart food preparation can reduce waste, while sharing a number of clever food preservation techniques.
“Communicate with guests in advance to understand potential allergies or restrictions before you plan a service,” he advised.
Karime Lopez, chef at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Florence, also challenged members to get creative with food scraps and to experiment with the family meal.
“Plan ahead to take advantage of leftovers,” she said. “This can save time and money, and increase creativity and flavour — but you have to commit to it.”
To inspire members to experiment with kitchen scraps, the chefs also shared recipes that utilised off-cuts and surplus products, including for an unctuous vegetarian demi-glace.
As a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme, Bottura outlined the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and what young chefs can do to help the world reach these targets.
He invited members to share their ideas and vision with a rallying call: “Show me what you can do!”
Following the presentation, chef Rosval was available for a live Q&A session with members, where she reflected on her own sustainability journey, explained how chefs can better engage with their local communities, and discussed whether terms like ‘seasonal’ are stifling creativity in the kitchen.
“Becoming sustainable is not a grand gesture that will irrevocably change your life [and interrupt your business],” she said. “It’s about making conscious decisions to create a better world.”
The very first step chefs can take, according to Rosval, is to simply look inside the fridge.
“Do your inventory every day so that you can get your ordering right and prevent food waste from even starting,” she said.
The seminar was the second in a dedicated series with Bottura’s non-profit organisation Food for Soul, and followed a previous session where the culinary maestro introduced members to the charitable project and shared his thoughts on the changing role of chefs in society. The Academy’s seminars are only available to members – via a private Facebook group and in reserved area of the website.
Bottura will also be part of the Grand Finale of S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2019-21, set to take place in Milan on 28-30 October. Discover the latest program details, and how to tune in live here.