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5 Questions with Lisa McEuen - CEO, Chartwells Higher Education

1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

My family was always conscious of waste so it’s been engrained in me since childhood. My parents grew up in the UK and lived on rations during World War II, so they were always very mindful about food and made sure that nothing went to waste. One of my earliest memories as a child was watching my father, a chef, butcher a cow and use every part of it for some purpose. It was then that I began to fully appreciate sustainability practices.  When I joined Bon Appétit and we built our strategy around “Food Services for a Sustainable Future,” I truly felt the marriage of my personal beliefs on sustainability and my professional practices come together.

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I am so fortunate to spend time each day with the incredibly talented and creative culinarians in our field. 

Watching them bring our innovations to life is truly inspiring. I am always amazed when I see them transform IDP produce into a beautiful healthy and delicious meal all while being mindful of our guest’s food preferences as well as popular trends.

3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Whenever I sit down for a meal, I take time to appreciate the food that I’m served or that I’ve prepared. I consider where the ingredients came from, how it was grown, picked, sourced, cut and prepared and recognize the heart, soul and passionate that went into preparing that meal. When I’m on the road, I make a point to avoid taking more than I actually need and when I’m home I only buy what I know I will eat for the week. 

4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

Everyone has the power to make a difference no matter how small. We need to keep the conversation going, be transparent about the food we waste and educate those around us

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

Never underestimate the power of leftovers. Invest in reliable, reusable containers to store your leftover foods or when meal prepping. I love to cook for friends and family and when we have gatherings, I always have extra containers on hand so that they can take the food home with them. Nothing goes to waste and my guests can enjoy the meal the next day, too.