Serving More Than Food

Recently, Catherine wrote in to the blog (from Iceland!) asking for “some kind of package regarding food recovery, give out to restaurants.”

I sent her this guide to food recovery put together by the National Restaurant Association and USDA and steered her towards the Restaurant Green Seal. She’s hoping for more materials, though, and if anyone has any resources to pass along, please leave them in the comments field below.

I assumed Catherine ran a restaurant, but upon further correspondence, I learned that she’s…well, I’ll let her explain:

My husband is currently the President of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Chef associations from 80 some countries are members. Around 8 million members and growing. I am his assistant/researcher.

Every year, they have “International Chefs Day” in October. Here is a small excerpt from the President’s message in 2008 to give you an idea of what this day is used for:courtesy of WACS “WACS has a special responsibility in promoting respect for chefs worldwide. But it also has the responsibility, as the Global Authority on Food, to ‘highlight the plight of the hungry’ as Dr. Bill Gallagher, the instigator of International Chefs Day, once said.”

…This year, [my husband] wants to give a “theme” for this day and in a way, the whole year. He wants to focus on Food Waste, of course in Hotels and Restaurants, but also in the home. We want to sensitize the chefs of the world to solutions to this problem both for economical reasons (this is a great time to do it!) but also ecological and plainly, ethical.

It is somewhat of an embarrassment to have chefs, especially in developing countries, working in these great resorts where all the high quality food is wasted, while just a block away, you have people in dire need of better foods.

How refreshing is that?! Hopefully we’ll hear more from Catherine as International Chefs Day approaches in October.

And as a bonus, Catherine even provided some advice for reducing waste based on her own experiences:

We had a high end fish restaurant ourselves for 7 years (sold it last year) and I can tell you we did not have very much trash to take out at the end of the night. It was as simple as making smaller portions. We gladly and freely gave larger portions to those who desired it (I think in two years that happened only twice!). It was a better deal for us as well as the customers had room for a proper three course meal. There are so many MORE things we could have done if we had been aware of it!

Sometimes all it takes is a little outside-the-box thinking, as my pal the Eco-Chef knows well.

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