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How to minimise kitchen food waste

Posted on 1 April, 2020

It’s time to take unnecessary food waste off the menu. The cost of food being wasted in the UK hospitality and food service sector is estimated to be around £3.2 billion per year.

So reducing the amount of food ending up in the bins of our kitchens is a hot topic, even more so during tough economic times.

In our HIT Training Chef Academy, it’s a priority for us to deliver this message to our apprentices and help them adopt a low-waste mindset. 

We recently shared our top techniques and concepts to cook with minimum wastage as part of the new HospoLive initiative. HospoLive is hosting multiple Facebook Live sessions daily to keep those in the hospitality sector connected, upskilled and inspired.

HIT Training’s Chef Academy Principle, Paul Mannering and Rory Mitchell, Chef Academy Lead discussed the real importance of getting more out of the food in our kitchen.

Not only is there a financial benefit to reducing the volume of ingredients that end up in the bin, but an environmental impact too. 

Paul discussed adopting a field to fork mentality by considering the financial, environmental and sustainable elements of our resources. The real cost includes the money, labour and processes involved to produce, grow or rear each individual ingredient. 

We’ve pulled together a couple of our favourite ideas from Paul and Rory to help prevent perfectly good leftover ingredients and scraps from ending up in the waste bin.

Taking stock of leftovers

Creating a stock is a fantastic way to use up any vegetable or meat scraps, and get some use out of veggies which are past their best. 

Rory spoke of creating a stock pot at the start of the working day, and continue to feed it with all the odds and ends throughout the shift. You’ll be left with a great tasting stock which has saved flavoursome ingredients from the bin.

Stock stays fresh for around four days in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer.

Extra tip: Stocks can even be reduced down and frozen in ice cube trays - so even leftover stock doesn’t go to waste!

Befriend you freezer

Taking advantage of the space in your freezer is a great way to keep many ingredients fresh for longer. But what about those foods that don’t traditionally freeze so well? Freezing can change the structure and texture of some foods, making them less palatable.

Don’t worry, Rory and Paul have a solution! 

To get the best out of these foods, prepare them as best you can before popping them in the freezer. 

Most vegetables and fruits can be turned into versatile purees which freeze well and are a great addition to many dishes. Whilst carrot, courgette and apple peelings can be blitzed down before freezing - great for adding into a cake recipe. 

Fermenting off-cuts

Save vegetable trimmings from the bin and give them a new lease of life by fermenting them. Creating a kombucha (fermented tea) or kimchi (fermented vegetable side dish), are simple and easy waste savers which you can do in a working kitchen or at home. 

Rory spoke about a variety of ways he’s been embracing fermenting in his Chef Academy workshops and at home. His students recently created a flavoursome broccoli stalk kimchi by fermenting the leftover stalks with salt, garlic and peppercorns. 

He also revealed how he’s been using his kids’ pineapple leftovers to create Tepache, a delicious fermented pineapple drink. After a good scrub, he pops the pineapple skin and core into a pan or vessel, tops it up with water and sugar. After about five days of fermenting, he’s left with a refreshing (and slightly alcoholic) pineapple drink that tastes a little like a pineapple cider.

Discover more ways to reduce your waste kitchen waste, including uses for stale bread and leftover booze from front of house, with HIT Training’s Minimising Wastage: Concept & Cooking livestream video on HospoLive.


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McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

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Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

There is a shortage of skilled chefs within in our industry at present and any organisation that truly believes in the value of training and development of bright future stars will enable themselves to be in a strong position for the years ahead. Investing in smart training and development is at the heart of what we do within WSH, so it has been refreshing to work alongside HIT within our Baxterstorey Chef Academy. 

Rik Razza - Head of Chef Development, BaxterStorey

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