Changing food habits such as shopping more frequently, limiting portion sizes, and looking to under-utilized ingredients can help everyone reduce their food waste, according chefs Tim Ma and Gabriele Corcos during the final Fireside Chat of the 2018 NYC Food Tank Summit.
Both chefs talk about how their parents stressed the importance of not wasting. Corcos, co-host of Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel, says that growing up in Italy, his mother pointed to each remaining crumb and assigned it a cash value. Ma, Chef and Owner of Kyirisan restaurant in Washington, D.C., says that as a child it was common for him to eat organs and other ingredients that some people might consider “the nasty bits.”
“This is a land where there are too many calories that are available,” says Corcos, noting that 24-hour grocery stores and other conveniences overwhelm people to the point of wasting.
In the conversation moderated by Wall Street Journal reporter Charles Passy, the two chefs talk about the packaging waste that goes along with excess.
While taking home leftovers can be a component of fighting food waste, Ma points out that if portions are sized accurately, diners won’t need doggie bags, which will also save packaging waste.
The chefs also discuss the challenges of finding viable alternatives to plastic straws and the difficulty in creating a truly balanced menu, in which every component of every ingredient is used.
Ma says chefs face dilemmas like, “how do you use all the tops on the greens in the same ratio you use the carrots?”
“I made a salad of organ meats,” Ma continues, adding that it was delicious. “That was great reuse (of the leftovers) and and very creative and very fun to serve. The hardest thing was getting people to eat it…it was still a salad of organs.”
“I’d eat it,” Passy says.
“I would love to!” Corcos says.
Watch the full fireside chat with Tim Ma and Gabriele Corcos, above.