1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?
I think it’s terrific. This is something where everyone can actually make a difference. People need this information and education to understand the massive amount of food wasted and how that negatively effects our planet. Armed with this information, we can make informed and painless choices and easily make a big impact.
2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen? Elevate the awareness of every food service associate on the importance of being more conscious of reducing food waste at the source--and what they can do to address the issue.
The easiest, and most common-sense way to reduce food waste is to buy less food--seriously! I constantly challenge our chefs who tell me they use 50 lbs. of a product every two days to order 40 lbs. and let me know what happens. Ninety percent of the time, the answer is we now buy 20-30 lbs. less per week, which is a huge reduction in waste potential--not only because you bought less of one thing, but because you will sell more of the products you have without necessarily reducing variety. My motto: until you are on the brink of running out, you have too much. And, of course, there is the added financial benefit to purchasing less food!
3. How about in the home kitchen?
At home, think carefully when at the grocery or market. Consider what you might have thrown away last week. Question yourself when you are enticed by those gorgeous strawberries: when will I actually eat them? Will I even be home in the next few days to eat them? If you do buy them and they are getting on the older side, make the effort to utilize them. Make a smoothie or cook them with a pinch of sugar for five minutes and keep in the fridge; it’s great on toast or with ice cream. The possibilities are endless! And I think I have an idea for my next cookbook…
4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
BE AWARE! Just consider what you buy: utilize it to the absolute fullest and look at what you throw away.
5. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?
I’m a huge fan of making pastas or omelets with a wide range of ingredients. One of my favorites was a Caesar Pasta (See Below) that I featured on TODAY show. I had ingredients for the salad but not really enough for a full dinner, so I made into a pasta dish that was outstanding!