Monday, 9 February 2009

Food waste - the professionals' opinion?

Idly browsing, the headline 'A fish head in a bin makes me cry' caught my eye. Michel Roux Jr of Le Gavroche talked to the Telegraph about food waste in a short article plugging his new book (which seems to have nothing at all to do with getting the most from your food, except maybe via the anecdotes in the article).

However, being a bit of a Masterchef addict ("COOKING JUST DOESN'T GET ANY TOUGHER THAN THIS!!" *ahem*) I also find myself, if not crying, then shouting at the TV when contestants do the round in the professional kitchen. Why? For the slightest deviation from the chef's vision of a "perfect" dish, the entire plateful is binned. Expensive cuts of meat, fish, lovingly prepared vegetables... if the dressing has been messily squirted on or the cooking isn't absolutely correct, in the bin it goes. I get the impression this happens too with dishes from regular staff (just hopefully less often).

Now, I can see that chefs have a reputation to uphold, and many of the likely customers in top-end restaurants are going to be knowledgeable and expect high standards (after all, they are paying for them). But to what extent does this contribute to our food waste as a nation? Binning food because it's not absolutely perfect seems to me to be more of a waste, more pointless than binning something you forgot about in the back of the fridge. Do restaurants have food waste collections that do something useful with the discards? (Aha - some do. And there were other London options in 2007 - what about now I wonder?)

If a fish head in a bin makes him cry, what would Michel Roux Jr do with a plate of not-quite-perfect food from one of his sous chefs? That I'd like to know.

1 comment:

  1. Great article!! :))

    Thanks for posting it! It does give me hope if I see things like this...
    Though it makes me shudder too, if I think of the orange peels - I do hope he gets (truly) organic oranges, or he's really poisoning the guests!!
    I wonder about the fried potato peels too... If they're 'pretty', then okay - if they're kinda bad or mouldy, rather not!!)

    I do wish there would be a 'Zero Waste Guide' to all cities worldwide.. shops, restaurants, catering, builders, you name it.. :)

    Do tell if you ever learn about the non-perfect food from his sous-chefs too.. As it seems he'd refry it and feed it too staff?