How to Minimise Kitchen Food Waste

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 Principal, 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 your 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 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.

The Apprenticeship Levy One Year on

Crunch Time: Over Half of Hospitality Businesses Risk Losing their Apprenticeship Levy Fund

Flexi-apprenticeships are the Answer to the Dwindling Hospitality Workforce

Sign up to news, events and great resources