Friday Buffet

In the Department of Unsubstantiated Claims, this post says America wastes 70 percent of its food! Now, I’m the first person to say we waste too much food, but that sourceless number takes things a bit too far. (I say ‘more than 40 percent,’ as the University of Arizona anthropologist Timothy Jones estimates between 40 and 50 percent) Suspiciously, that stat is on a site trying to sell plastic food storage to cut waste. Hmm…

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Trestle on Tenth may be my new favorite NYC restaurant. Its chef, Ralf Kuettel in an interview on

Q: Your father was a farmer and game warden. How did he influence your career in culinary?
A: Primarily, “don’t kill anything unless you are going to eat it.”  We never wasted any food.

— —photo by badlogik (via flickr)

While they make Americans anything but slim, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell and other fast food restaurants are installing ordering kiosks to trim their payroll (of course, that’s not how they put it). While this move hastens the inevitable robotic takeover, at least these machines are said to cut waste:  

Dishman said order accuracy is a big selling point. A blown order that has to be replaced equals wasted food cost. Customers who place their own order are also less likely to complain if it’s wrong — regardless of who made the mistake, he added. 

Given that KFC ranked third to last in order accuracy, I can see why they’re moving to kiosks.

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Closing out the week surrounding Campus Sustainability Day (doesn’t this deserve a week??), here’s one more college food waste note. Many schools are pushing a clean plates this week. I mentioned how food service provider Chartwells has instituted Project Clean Plate at a number of schools. Maureen Perkins, a University of Iowa graduate student, has formed a Clean Plate Club at her school.

Perkins told me that she hopes the initiative will cut the 359 annual tons of plate waste that the school sends to the landfill (more than a pound of waste per student per meal!). To join the Clean Plate Club, students commit to a year of only taking what they’re going to eat. “We don’t want students to overeat. The goal is to get them to think about what they put on their plate before they sit down,” said Perkins.

 Sounds great; let’s hope membership in this club isn’t too exclusive.

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