Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Spotlight: Liane Gregory

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Liane Gregory, Manager, Sustainable Sourcing, Foodbuy Canada

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

I love it. We must bring ideas and solutions into the light, so that everyone can start acting individually. There is massive impact when ideas are converted into combined individual actions.

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

  1. Batch cook and freeze in portions (so you’re not actually producing leftovers!).
  2. Grow your own herbs. It’s a great feeling to know you grew it and herbs are usually quite easy to grow! So, it’s a few snips vs that huge clump of cilantro.
  3. Organize your fridge to help you. Don’t lose sight of the protein/produce that can go bad. Keep it easily viewable.

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

Look in your fridge! Waste often occurs when we aren’t paying attention. “Ooops… that’s gone bad.” won’t happen so much.

4. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

Incorporating into creative frittatas! It’s Sunday Brunch Surprise. You can amaze yourself with your own creativity.

Stop Food Waste Day Chef Spotlight: Bradley Yip

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Bradley Yip, Executive Chef, Eurest, Compass Group Canada

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

Fantastic to see that it is being established as part and parcel of culinary excellence. No longer is it viewed as a separate ideology. If we are cooking food professionally we have an obligation to cook it responsibly and sustainably.

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

When we use clear waste bins on the counter at each station, it forces us to look at what we are throwing away. It can also spark a discussion about what is usable and edible on some vegetables that were previously thrown away.

Batch cooking is another way to ensure that we are not over producing.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

Freezing herbs and tomato paste in cubes is a very good way to preserve and reuse them.

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

Every small change that is made will start to make a bigger difference. Learning about how to use the entirety of a vegetable will greatly reduce what goes in the bin (or better yet the compost pile).

5. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

I love creating waste me not salads. Refining leftovers with chops and cuts and experimenting with them tossed in salads. You can get some pretty interesting flavour combinations.

Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Spotlight: Cayla Runka

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Cayla Runka, Director of Sustainability & Wellness, Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada

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

I am encouraged that there is such focus on food waste. My family teases me as I use the term ‘don’t be wasteful’ a lot at home. Having grown up in an agriculture community and family, I feel everything we produce is precious and given those who also go without enough to eat, there needs to be massive social change to cut down and reduce the waste. It’s a huge problem and we are each responsible to do our part.

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

I have dedicated ice cube trays in my freezer for food. When I have fresh herbs, I chop them all and they go into a tray and then the freezer. Just pop a few cubes out and fresh flavour is added to anything you want. I also do this with tomato paste, broth and anything else where there is a little left. It’s so easy and convenient and saves money in the long run too. I also keep trimmings like onion peel, carrot tops/peels, fennel tops and herb stems in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for throwing into the bottom of a roasting pan or stock pot for added flavour.

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

Meal plan and shop with a list. I know it sounds boring but when you know exactly what you are cooking, you only buy the things you need and know you will use.

4. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

I’m not sure I ever have to do that…leftovers disappear in my house the next day for lunch! If there are odd bits of ingredients left…it’s either the soup pot or the salad bowl.

Stop Food Waste Day Chef Spotlight: Andre Blanchet

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Andre Blanchet, Corporate Executive Chef, Restaurant Associates, Compass Group Canada

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

It stems to more than just what’s being thrown in the bin inside the kitchen or out of the fridge that needs to be paid attention to. I was a big fan of how Intermache supermarket in France launched an ‘ugly fruits and vegetables’ program a few years back. A lot of people were shocked to learn that if a vegetable/fruit doesn’t meet a standard length, shape, weight or colour it gets tossed before it reaches the store. Intermarche discounted these items by 30% to ensure they were doing their part. Amazing!

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

Watch what is coming back on the plate from the dining room. You would be surprised at how you are over portioning. Sure, we want guests to think that they are getting value for their money, but how often do you hear in your own restaurant that the portions are small? Probably seldom. There’s an amazing Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto I go to called Wazema. It’s so cheap! But every time we order the platter for two, we bring home leftovers for days (great for me). But in doing so, the restaurant is throwing another $0.40 down the drain in extra packaging after the meal as well, when I would have been just as satisfied and happy if I had nothing left on my plate.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

Stop buying bulk! Go to the grocery store more frequently and buy individual items. That 10lb bag of potatoes may seem cheaper down the road, but a month later they shrink, lose half the volume and begin sprouting or becoming mouldy. An untouched 10lb bag of potatoes will quickly become an 8lb bag of potatoes if you leave it for a few weeks. Same with bananas. You aren’t breaking the law if you take that bunch of bananas on the shelf and break off what you need. You need 3 bananas? There’s 6 on the bunch? Break them off!

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

Read an article on how to store your perishables. You’ll be fascinated! Brown paper bags for mushrooms, clay bowl on the cupboard for fresh garlic, wet paper towel for your herbs. Small changes that lengthen a products life, and gives you the best tasting product.

5. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

Plan every meal to have a secondary purpose. Mondays spaghetti sauce becomes Tuesday mornings Shakshuka. Tuesday evenings pizza slices becomes Wednesdays croutons for your Caesar salad (yes! Chopped up pizza slices make crazy tasty Caesar salad croutons). Also, food usually develops more flavour a day later. An old chef of mine was brilliant when he said “it shouldn’t be called ‘soup of the day’. It should be called ‘soup of yesterday’ because soup always tastes better the second day.”

Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Spotlight: Jana Vodicka

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Jana Vodicka, Manager, Campus Engagement & Sustainability, Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada

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

Food waste is a highly tangible issue, with social, economic and environmental implications. We all eat, so food waste has each of our names on it. Luckily, we have plenty of power and authority to reduce our contributions. The best part is that it can be as easy as freezing your left overs and giving your future self a break.

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

Making stock from trimmings, peels and any other food parts left over from meal prep is one way to get more mileage out of your food, and keep waste to a minimum. Reduce it, strain out the bits and freeze in small containers to use as seasoning, even a splash to add a pop of flavour to an omelette!

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

Prevention is the ideal solution, but the downstream impacts are just as important. If you have organic collection services, either at school, work, or at home, even a backyard composter – use it. Most of the waste in garbage by weight is food waste, putting incredible pressure on landfill capacities, waste related taxes, and ecosystems.

4. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

Making soups or casseroles with leftovers leads to surprising deliciousness. Most of the work is already done so it’s relatively quick to prepare, and the flavours have married to result in one-of-a-kind delicious meals.

Celebrate Earth Month Through Food

crate of assorted vegetables on grass

Celebrate Earth Month Through Food

Of the total land area that we as humans occupy on the earth, we dedicate half of it to agriculture production[1].  Three quarters of this land is used for raising livestock and the remainder for crops1. Interestingly however, livestock only provides 20% of the world’s supply of calories, yet occupies the greatest proportion of agricultural land.[2] Inevitably as the population continues to grow, we will need to consider not only how much we eat but what we eat. Earth Month is a great time to celebrate our beautiful planet, and also to reflect upon what we as humans can do to help preserve it. Simple changes in our diet and lifestyle can have significant positive effects on the earth. Here are ways that we can celebrate Earth Month, through food:

  1. Embrace plant-forward meals. Eating a diet that consists mainly of plants (whole grains, legumes, soy, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) can help to reduce your carbon footprint by 55%[3]. This can easily be achieved by designing your meals to feature plant-based foods first and then use animal proteins as a garnish. Alternatively, try dedicating one day per week to a meat-free meal.
  2. Minimize your red meat consumption. Beef utilizes 20 times the amount of land and emits 20 times the amount of greenhouse gas per unit of edible protein, in comparison to plant-based counterparts such as lentils, peas and beans[4]. Switching some of your protein choices each week for a plant-based alternative can have a big environmental impact. For example try substituting half the amount of ground meat in your #tacotuesday recipe for beans or lentils.
  3. Choose locally grown foods when possible. Foods that are locally grown and in season, are not only fresher in flavour, they support your local economy. They are also more environmentally friendly as the distance the food travels from farm to plate is lessened, reducing transportation emissions and energy usage for storage and processing[5]. Check out what’s in season.
  4. Opt for sustainable seafood choices. 31% of the world’s fish stocks are fished at an unsustainable level[6]. Choosing sustainably sourced fish and seafood promotes a more viable supply. Visit Ocean Wise to learn more about sustainable seafood options.

If we really want to make an impact this Earth Month, we can all take part in Stop Food Waste Day on April 27th. Stop Food Waste Day brings awareness to the issue of food waste across the globe and what we can do to help stop it. It is estimated that 1/3 of the world’s food that is produced every year is wasted[7], and in Canada the annual cost of food waste is 31 billion dollars[8]! Considering the environmental impacts of landfills and the levels of food insecurity and malnutrition across the globe, food waste should be top of mind. For more tips on how you can reduce the amount of food waste in your home visit www.stopfoodwaste.ca.

 

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/yields-and-land-use-in-agriculture

[2] https://ourworldindata.org/agricultural-land-by-global-diets

[3] http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-community/environmental-health/article/sustainable-eating-eco-friendly-diet

[4] http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

[5] https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/food-climate-change/

[6] http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf

[7] http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

[8] http://vcm-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Food-Waste-in-Canada-27-Billion-Revisited-Dec-10-2014.pdf