Food waste can be a significant part of your restaurant’s daily operations. Perfection reigns supreme, particularly in luxury and five-star restaurants where the presentation is often as important as the taste. This emphasis often results in a tremendous amount of leftover food scraps. Customers eat what is on their plates, but what about the parts that don’t even make it to the plate?
The need to keep the dining area moving, with a constant flow of delicious food and new customers, can put emphasis on tossing that less-than-desired lettuce or removing those slightly fatty cuts of meat. Is this food spoiled or inedible? No! Even if it isn’t appropriate for the dish you’re serving, the trimmings can still be put to use elsewhere. With a little ingenuity and planning, you can turn your restaurant into one that utilizes as much food as possible, all while retaining, or even growing, its happy customer base.
Prime cuts of meat take center stage, with a build-up of trimmings in just a short time. What can your chefs do with them?
Your options will depend on the meat content of the trimmings, but you just might be able to add a new dinner item or two to the menu.
Meatier trimmings can be used for creating pulled beef, chicken or pork, which can be added to any number of dishes, from enchiladas to casseroles. Your chefs can also create gourmet sandwiches using the cooked meat, or they could add the trimmings to lentils and beans or cook them into a delicious home-style chili.
Chefs can also let their imaginations soar to create new flavor combinations that will surprise and delight any dinner guest. Trimmings that are nearly all fat are perfect for simmering, and house-made beef or chicken stock will flavor many dishes.
Fruit and Vegetable Trimmings
Produce, especially vegetables, is a common sight in the food scraps bin, and all of those leaves and tops are cast aside in favor of the root or fruit. However, many of those stalks and leaves can be meals, flavorings or garnishes in themselves.
Your chefs can simply blanch the greens to remove bitterness, or they can slice up the greens and use them in stir-frys or other dishes, such as a meal topped with toasted tree nuts. Tops sprinkled over salad will add tremendous flavor as well, and vegetable peelings are excellent for roasting into gourmet snack chips.
Citrus fruits are often squeezed for their juices, but they leave a large quantity of unused peels. Grate the peel, and freeze it for use in muffins or loaves, or use the emptied fruit as a flavor enhancer for meat dishes.
Store Them Right
Along with repurposing your trimmings to create an entirely new dish, another item to consider is referencing the Freshness Contained tools for helpful tips on keeping your food items fresher for longer. Cambro supports foodservice operators worldwide not only by providing storage products for every application, but also tried and tested recommendations on how to best store their produce for extended shelf life. Freshness contained offers operators food storage solutions that are not only designed to retain the freshness of perishable foods but also the quality, appearance, flavor and nutritional value for as long as possible.
More and more restaurateurs are recognizing the importance of using as much of their food trimmings as possible. While you can and should have a collection bin to be given away for compost, your restaurant will benefit from a more complete utilization approach to food. New menu items are just around the corner!