A conversation with James Larkins - Group Executive Chef, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

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

The importance of buying and cooking what you actually need can never be under promoted. From sensible purchasing to careful production we can create a sustainable system to generate a positive outcome in the long run.  

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

1) Know your consumers’ likes and dislikes - you can then plan to serve what you know is popular 

2) Review your sales data on a regular basis and replace the dishes that are not selling

3) Plan out the exact numbers of each dish required and adjust based on sales data

4) Follow set recipes to ensure that you are using the measured ingredients for that dish

How about in the home kitchen?

1)         Packed ingredients can often give you too much of a product. Try buying loose produce so you can take home only what you are actually likely to use

2)         Find out if all family members are home for meal times and cook accordingly 

3)         Use your favorite chef’s recipes. Following recipes helps you to reduce the amount of ingredients you would have used by cooking free hand.

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

Think about planning your food week out with the portions you actually require; this will contribute to a big reduction in food wastage and your weekly food spend. 

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

I enjoy hearty soups served with warm crusty bread! A lot of ingredients, even after they have been cooked, still hold a great deal of flavor so turn them into a big hearty soup. It’s a great way to use up leftover ingredients.