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A Conversation with Chef Chris Ivens-Brown, Chief Culinary Officer - Eurest

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

Personally I think its brilliant and long overdue. When I was growing up my mother never wasted anything and, with four growing children and a tight budget, she couldn’t afford to waste anything.

We have lost this thought-pattern over the last few decades, so it’s great that it is being brought back to the forefront. And at Eurest, it ties all of our sustainability efforts into one.

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen? 

Elevate the awareness of every foodservice associate on the importance of being more conscious in food-waste reduction at the source. We provide tools and tips they can easily utilize to address the issue.  

For professional kitchens, it’s all about the ordering--specifically not over-ordering, production and, of course, the menu, the heart of every kitchen. Proper production records and cross-utilization of products are instrumental. For example, our chefs need to be comfortable and creative. For example, try making croutons and garlic bread from scratch using day-old bread.

How about in the home kitchen? 

Essentially, the same rules apply. From an ordering standpoint, when shopping buy only what you’re going to eat. When shopping, I use my mother’s words, “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs” to remind myself to just buy the  ingredients we don’t already have. Menuingin a home is the same, in a way. Map out your meals for the week and cross-utilize ingredients to create balance meals. There are so many things you can do at home to cut back on waste. My 10 Ways To Utilize Food Scraps list gives tips for these and many more. A lot of it is common sense combined with experimentation.

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

Think before you throw it out. Remember: there are millions of people in the world who are starving--and we forget that. Decades ago, farmers and peasants alike would make-do with what they had and could afford. A classic dish such as Bouillabaisse (Fish Soup) was made up of leftover scraps from fish--including the bones--marinated with vegetables and seasonings. Other soups and stews such as Gazpacho, Vichyssoise, cassoulet or Brunswick stew were all created to utilize leftover ingredients. 

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers? 

My favorite way would be dehydrating things like tomatoes with orange powder, garlic and thyme. The orange powder comes from a dried orange peel. Olives and grapes are just amazing from a flavor standpoint. And creating them at home is better than buying them premade. Soups, are great for at home utilization of leftovers. Use basic common sense is the best approach. I love doing a hash on the weekends, or from my country “Bubble and Squeak,” which are leftover veggies, potatoes and meat sautéed up in a pan, finished with a fried egg and chees--and a mimosa to wash it down.