Frank Chen

Frank Chen

food waste at restaurants

Interning at a 2 Michelin star kitchen - a brief 🧵 on thoughts about food waste:

Industry folks, is there something about restaurant scraps and leftovers that I'm not understanding?

I've seen creativity and family meal repurpose food waste but I've also seen food waste just disposed, even if still "good".

Raw trim pieces while prepping meats are saved and have ended up in staff meal. However, raw and cooked trim pieces when portioning out during service are discarded. It's not an insignificant amount.

Certain elements of a dish are saved, and others are discarded. Same with sauces. Straight to the trash. Emotionless disposal. It hurts me to do it, scooping out perfectly palatable sauces and dish components into a black hole.

Ok, ok, I understand something like a delicate dairy based component could be suboptimal for the next day. Standards. I wouldn't serve it if it wasn't perfect, but why not save it? It's not inedible. I'm sure it can be used for family meal.

I've racked my head for possible reasons why everything that could be saved isn't saved.

Is it the art? That there's an expiration window for these types of things? Once it's "used" then it's over? If something is less than perfect than it doesn't deserve to be consumed?

Or is it to reinforce the the fact that "taking" food, even if saving it, is discouraged during work times? That over time, it encourages staff to try and get food, and in the worst case, steal product?

Perhaps it's something simpler, like there just aren't enough containers to go around to save all the leftovers. Seems less likely though, especially since containers come so cheap.

What am I missing?