With many restaurants and food service operations looking for ways to be environmentally friendly, there has been an increased use of green and sustainable products in their operating procedures. Additionally, there are more ways that a restaurant or foodservice operation can both help the environment and their bottom line. By educating chefs on new recipes using foods that would have been traditionally discarded as well as what appliances to use, Waring is working to reduce food waste globally.
“The Waring Empowered initiative was developed after meeting with multiple chefs, including Adam Kaye of The Spare Food Company,” said Waring General Manager and SVP Dan DeBari. “While discussing new product innovations that would help lessen the impact of the epidemic and food waste in commercial kitchens, Adam gave me an education. He said that Waring’s arsenal of products, that can already be found in commercial kitchens, are all you need to help combat food waste. Chef Adam, also of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, taught us that equipment such as blenders, food processors, juicers, and dehydrators, will help the culinary community stop looking at excess or “scraps” as food waste, but rather, shift the mindset to Ingredient Optimization.
“By working in conjunction with Adam & Jeremy Kaye, brothers, and co-founders of the Spare Food Company, we created the framework for this initiative,” DeBari continued. “They say that each of us has the power to make a difference in the world through the food choices we make every day. We spent over a year educating ourselves on the facts, mitigation tactics, top food waste offenders in the kitchen and how our products could help the cause. We have come up with a thoughtful approach to pass along this knowledge in our new website. This is only the beginning. This initiative will continue to evolve in the future.”
As to the framework of their initiative and how renewed resourcefulness can benefit restaurants, DeBari has the answer. “Phase one involves laying out the enormity of the facts! These stats can be overwhelming but, it’s necessary to understand we are headed down a dangerous path. We know most people really care and want to contribute to reversing the impact of food waste, they just need some guidance on how to contribute. In turn, this information and assistance, will help lower food costs, help increase profits and ultimately, feel good about what you can achieve with a little direction. We focused efforts on content creation, from humorous videos to countless recipes concentrating on top waste offenders in the kitchen. This will assist the community in the developing new menu staples, upgraded pantry items or elevated garnishes yielding less waste and lower food costs. Again, let’s change the mindset from wasted food to optimizing perfectly edible and nutritious ingredients.”
The Waring Empowered Initiative utilizes multiple methods to achieve its goal, to inspire chefs to utilize every ounce of what they bring in the door. “As chefs, we are trying to be creative with things that people may or may not be comfortable eating. Tapping into this creativity and is our most powerful tool in turning the tide on food waste.” said Waring Director of Culinary Innovation Chef Dustin Selvaggio. “This belief aligns with famed zero food waste Chef Douglas McMaster of Silo London, who is an integral part of the new Waring Collective. He states, “Waste is a failure of the imagination.” If you look at the basis of all the classic dishes that we love and enjoy, it is all based on using absolutely everything and wasting nothing. We want to reignite this idea. You have all these parts of the product that have flavor and nutrients; therefore, these neglected ingredients have profit potential and the opportunity to excite your guests. At the end of the day, a quest for convenience and the lack of imagining the product’s full potential are standing in our way of getting this food waste problem under control.”
As to the methods that the Empowered Initiative advocates for reduced food waste, Selvaggio is here to educate and inspire! “The number one technique that we use is concentration of flavor and we typically do that through our dehydrator,” said Selvaggio. “A lot of these scraps can be kind of frozen in time, the flavor concentrated, or the texture altered all through the drying process with the addition of a dehydrator. That is a cornerstone to the solution kits that we have identified for the Waring Empowered Initiative. The next step in this progression is processing those scraps further. Whether it be through a blender or a food processor, you can then make it into a smaller format so that it becomes a flavor staple if you will.”
“As far as technique, when looking at ingredients that are typically discarded, you have to ask yourself, why is it discarded? Is there an opportunity I’m missing? When you’ve identified that opportunity, you can then understand how these pieces of equipment you already own, or the addition of a missing piece, can come together to transform your excess into profits.”
Dustin continues to explain that “in many kitchens, chefs and restauranteurs may have the majority of what they need to help mitigate this epidemic. Still, they may be missing that one key piece of equipment that can complete the set and provide them with the support they need to do their part. At the end of the day, there is no stronger, more influential, more passionate group of people than those that comprise our culinary community. It’s up to every business, large or small, every person, to be part of this solution. And Waring is here to help.”
For those who are looking for creative and cost effective ways to combat the problem of food waste, more information on Waring’s new Empowered initiative can be found online.