Minimising Food Waste: Root to Shoot Eating

One of the biggest current global trends is to reduce wastage, and global food waste is a massive problem.

We are all familiar with ‘nose to tail’ cooking, the concept that no part of an animal should be wasted.  As plant based eating becomes mainstream we are seeing a resurgence of ‘root to shoot’ eating, with chefs and cooks looking at ways to use as much of the fruit, vegetable & herb as possible.

Seeking out alternative methods for using every part of a product reduces food wastage and is also great for increasing profit margins.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fresh produce:

Roots, bulbs and tubers

Celeriac / Celery Root:  works well in a puree with potato, pairs well with seafood, lamb and pork, can be grated raw into a salad, or roasted.  If you are lucky enough to get one with fresh greenery on top, store that separately and use as you would use celery.

Parsley and Chervil Root: This can be substituted in any recipe that calls for carrot, parsnip and turnip, and also make a great alternative to potato in a gratin.

Most roots, bulb and tubers work well together in a mash, a medley of roasted veg or puree.

Any leftover bulbs and skins from onions, garlic and leek make an excellent addition to stocks and soups.  Simmer gently in milk, cream or water, strain and use in sauces and soups.

Jerusalem artichoke, potato, yam, sweet potato and taro are great for thickening soups and stews.

Peels, Skins & Rinds

Citrus rinds: try them candied in desserts, add to sparkling water for a flavour kick, or look into the multitudes of uses in chemical cleaning products and sprays.

Potato Skins: Delicious baked in the oven, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Turn leftover skins into powders by dehydrating them, blitzing into a fine powder and using as a flavour enhancer.

Stalks & Stems

The tougher parts of vegetables can most often be used in stocks and soups to impart nutrients and flavour.  Kale and Parsley work well in a stock base.

Broccoli Stalks: Peel away the tough outer layer and shred the rest to use in a salad or coleslaw, or chop and use in a stew.

Pickling is great way to use up stalks and stems, preserving them for use at a later date.

Shoots & Leaves

Shoots & Leaves are great in salads and for garnish, and also work well in pestos and salsas.

Carrot leaves, fennel fronds, radish greens and herb stems make an excellent base for pesto.

Fennel fronds impart a beautiful aniseed flavour which pairs well with seafood and potato dishes.

5 things you need to know to make your menu more cost effective.

You are living the dream, owning or managing a café, small bar or restaurant.  But you also know that it isn’t the romantic story that is portrayed on our favourite television programs.  You know you need to run every aspect of your business efficiently and excellent menu management is crucial as part of your overall operation.

We have collected five tips to help get you thinking about how to maximise the efficiency of your menu.

Optimize Your Inventory

This is most important, inventory matters!  Being overstocked might make you feel prepared but leads to spoilage and wastage, and being under stocked means you need to temporarily take things off the menu, leading to frustration in and out of the kitchen.

Instead, optimize your inventory. Use the same ingredients across the menu, and rework specials or leftovers into inventive dishes.

Start keeping track of the raw ingredients you are using, the quantities you are using.  There’s more to the cost of that margarita pizza you serve.  Factor in the cost of the dough, fresh tomatoes, sauce, basil, and the garlic and cheese.  Accounting for these tiny details will give you genuine insight into food costs and profit margins.

Daily inventory reduces the food wastage and inaccurate ordering.  This will help you identify if produce is spoiling, being forgotten about or misplaced.

And don’t forget to talk to your supplier about produce options to help reduce your food wastage.


Menu Management

Your inventory means a lot, but what you order and when you order it is highly dependent on your menu. An expansive menu with dozens of dishes often requires more inventory and a higher risk of wastage. On the other hand, a more focused menu where common ingredients are shared between menu items is much easier to manage.

Keep up to date with your best and worse sellers, using this information to assess which items are worth keeping and which ones you can remove. This will help you to optimise your menu and is particularly necessary if a poor-selling dish uses a costly ingredient that cannot be cross-utilized with other menu items.

People may love to have extensive menu choice, but this doesn’t have to equate to an extensive list of ingredients.


Produce Grade

Ask yourself how you are using your fresh produce.  Could a simple menu alteration reduce your food cost?

Are you using your avocados to make avocado smash or are they being neatly sliced and presented on the plate?  Are you using mushrooms to chop up and cook, or presenting a full field mushroom as part of your dish?  Are you cooking your tomatoes into a sauce or serving them in a salad?

There are many different grades of produce available so chat to your supplier about moving to a lower grade if you are using the produce for smashing, saucing or juicing and get excited over the savings!

Reduce Deliveries

Assess your delivery system to reduce costs.

Do you really need a daily delivery or with a little extra planning could you take a delivery every 2 – 3 days?

Transport cost is included in all fresh produce pricing, so if you can limit the amount of deliveries you take you may be able to negotiate better prices with your suppliers.

Control Portions

Portion control is a simple trick to reduce costs at your restaurant or bar. It’s a technique used by all chain restaurants. Customers will soon learn what to expect, and it will keep your costs lower.

Let’s talk about how we can help minimise your menu costs