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Chef Tom Colicchio talks to Amy Keister about stopping food waste

AK: Why is reducing wasted food such a passion for you?

TC: 60 years ago, you knew the person that produced your food. You knew the farmer, you knew the fisherman and you knew the baker.  These were all people in your neighborhood.  Because you knew them, you placed a higher value on the food, the products that they produced.  Now we are several steps away from where and how our food is produced and we have devalued the food itself.

It is not just the food that is being wasted, there are tremendous natural resources that are being wasted.  We have parts of the country in severe drought as well as greenhouse gasses and other environmental resource issues that are exasperated by wasting food.

AK: Chef, you get asked to do countless partnerships and speaking engagements every day. What drew you to Compass Group and partnering with Stop Food Waste Day?

TC: I think that it is great for individuals and independent restaurants to step up and make a difference tackling food waste.  When you have a large organization that is producing and selling so much food every day and is committed stopping food waste, they you can really make a difference.

AK: You are an incredibly talented Chef, entrepreneur, television star as well as a food activist on the national stage. What’s next for you?

TC: I want to keep raising awareness around these food issues.  I make my living in this industry but there are a lot of problems that come with that.  I will continue to speak out on the issues that affect this industry.  I will also be an advocate for the people in this country who do not have enough food to eat, the small family farmers that need our support as well as a supporter of any smart governance that can cure a lot of the ills in this country.

AK: Chef, pretend you have a magic wand.  You can wave your wand and get everyone to do one thing that will make the biggest difference stopping food waste.  What is the one thing that you get everyone to do?

TC: I don’t know if there is just one thing.  Make sure that you are getting to your food before it spoils.  Always be aware of what you have in your refrigerator and pantry.  Shop more frequently and have a plan when you do.  If something does spoil, imagine throwing away money.  Every scrap that goes in the bin is money.  What can you do to stretch that dollar?  Put value on your food and you will waste less.