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Food waste

The food waste management race is on: recipe tips

Food waste management is a sustainability megatrend that will continue to grow in importance. In order to achieve the desired results in food waste management it is necessary to understand what, why and when food goes to waste. However, it is not always that simple. Is there a link to food safety? What about food prep processes? Managing food waste is a balancing (and weighing) act. Here are 5 key steps on recipe management. And the start of a new blog series.

How to do food waste management in restaurant buffet
Efficient food waste management can be achieved for buffet offerings with good planning.

As we delve into the new year, food waste management will be on our minds, hands and scales. And, most likely, bins. To help take matters in your own hands, we are now launching our new story series that intends to tackle food waste management from various angles for achieving sustainability, business and hygiene and safety goals. Without ever compromising your passion for your profession or food.

The types of food waste vary depending on production methods and restaurant segments. Generally, food waste sources can be divided into storage, food preparation and serving. The good news is that it is possible to make positive changes within all of these, and it’s less difficult than you may think.  

For starters, we will look at food waste management through five tips on how to look at recipes from a new point of view. The tips are provided by Chef de cuisine, Ville Parkkinen, who knows the challenges of commercial kitchens and is always excited to come up with new ideas and solutions.

Ville Parkkinen Chef de Cuisine
Ville Parkkinen, Chef de Cuisine

1. Standardize your recipes for food waste management

It’s a no-brainer, really. By making sure that all your most loved recipes are standardized for the average portion sizes and volume, batches become more accurate and food waste is reduced almost automatically. Chefstein® helps with this at Pupusaari. Also, how many commercial kitchen recipes are standardized? Are yours?

2. Love the scale

Even the most seasoned chefs need a good scale. A dash or pinch is okay in the home kitchen, but in a commercial kitchen we have to ensure that quality of our finished recipe remains unchanged. Adding the last bits of an almost empty product container to your dish not only creates food waste (and cost) in the long run, it also has a potential negative impact on customer satisfaction because it may change the flavor of the dish. The kitchen scale an essential tool that makes sure your most requested menu items are always spot on.

3. Do a purchasing sanity check

Have a chat with your purchaser from time to time to check for updates on packaging sizes. Are there more practical or economical packing options available? Or alternative products with longer shelf lives?

4. Know what your guests like

Optimize your recipes for your guests’ preferences! Do they like it spicy or mild? We often tend to cook for our own or our friends’ tastes, or worse, to compete with other chefs. Let the customers that love your food just the way you cook it help you minimize your food waste by serving them plate-licking-good food every time. And keep them coming back, too! It’s good for the environment, and your bottom line.

5. Be a buffet service planning genius

Oven phases and serving dishes to the food waste rescue! For a busy but fresh buffet lunch service, load the oven with 5 pans at 10am, another 5 at 11.30am and the last two pans at 12.30pm. For high volume times at the start of the lunch period, have your larger serving dishes available. As volumes decrease after 12 noon, bring out your smaller dishes. However, make sure your recipes and phasing scale to this small but genius food waste management trick.

Tackling the recipe element for more efficient food waste management is an easy starting point. All the 5 tips share three common denominators; planning, process and data.  

Want to see how Chefstein® could help you take care of holistic kitchen management (including food waste)
and do a lot of the thinking for and with you?

Book a demo