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5 Questions with Chef Jehangir Mehta

1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I am glad the conversation has now started and awareness has been created but we as a nation still have a lot of implementation work to orchestrate. The lines of communication have to be strengthened by changing the mindset of the people before a real change will be seen. 

2. What are your best tips to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

If a chef is aware of the consumption level, order in bulk to reduce the waste generated from packaging.  Help your staff talk through all channels in the kitchen and the front.

 Another way is maximizing the product ordered. For example: If the Bar needs 10 lemons juiced everyday for service, while the Pasty Department needs zest of 10 lemons for a tart and lastly The Front Desk needs a pitcher of Lemon water everyday made with 5 lemons.

Instead of them all ordering separately that would be 25 lemons a day. The three departments start to speak to each other. The pastry department first zests the 10 lemons then hands it over to the Bar who juices them. The Bartender in turn alters the recipe by placing all 10 lemons in the pitcher for lemon water for the Front desk. This way the lemons have been manipulated to the fullest to create less waste, create efficient inventory and much better Food cost for the organization who saved purchasing 15 additional lemons a day. 

3. How about in the home kitchen?

All manners and lifestyle patterns are set from home and the question of setting the right mindset is implemented from the home.  The thinking of waste management has to be inculcated in our children right from a very young age.

4.  What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

If all of us just take a moment to stop throwing a mushy fruit or a bruised vegetable completely in the garbage and instead take a moment to carve out only the bruised area and use the rest of the product.  Use the mushy fruit to make a muffin, or anything else, or pickle vegetables that have a short lifespan left.  Follow the mantra UTILIZE BEFORE YOU TRASH.

5. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Soup is the easiest way to use leftovers or make fillings for dumplings with the food scraps.