Executive chef Virginia Gordon and former MasterChef Australia contestant Mandy Hall are embarking on a zero-waste culinary journey at their sold out Tasting Australia With Purpose at Frewville and Pasadena Foodland events. Here, Mandy Hall gives a little taste of what zero-waste dining is, why it’s important and how you can be more sustainable in the kitchen.
Zero Waste dining requires commitment and passion, it requires creativity and desire, it is, without doubt, the ultimate flexing of the imagination and ingredient respect.
So much thought goes into every dish that leaves that kitchen pass, the chef has to give consideration to every single element and attribute of an ingredient, there is thought to food miles, by-products, cooking methods, the capture of flavour, mouthfeel and balance. There is no room for laziness or complacency, deliciousness must reign supreme.
I truly believe that the zero waste diner gets the very best of that chef, there’s been a silent pledge to bring you a dish whereby each and every element has been gifted attention and scrutiny, there’s a point to prove and the outcome must pack a punch and leave you wanting more, anything less would be a failure, a loss in the war against food waste.
At home, there is much we can do to be a part of the food waste solution, buy local to avoid food mileage and possible spoilage, plan your meals and shop to that plan, use trimmings in stocks and broths and casseroles, you will be amazed at the additional flavour that you obtain. Think about using peels – dry them in your oven on a low temperature and turn them into powders that will flavour your salts and sugar. Potato peelings mixed with salt, oil and placed in a hot oven for 15 minutes make the tastiest oven fries that you’ll ever eat. We need to change our language around the use of words like “scraps and leftovers” this is simply food, beautiful and nourishing food. Look at ways to preserve ingredients when they are in season, they are at their prime and more often than not, it is very cost effective to buy at seasonal peeks. Fermentation, pickling, and preserving are easily accessible ways to do this.
There are very few (if not, zero) downsides to Zero Waste dining and living, it cultivates good practice, wise spending, thoughtful eating, respect for our planet and ourselves – what more could we want.