1. Make Proper Portions
According to a 2010 Canadian review, well-run restaurants waste no more than five per cent of their food. I set out to find someone who could keep costs in check but still cook a great meal. My search led me to Suzanne Barr, the chef and owner behind Saturday Dinette, a modern 35-seat diner in a trendy east-end area of Toronto.
When Barr noticed that many plates were coming back with an untouched buckwheat pancake during brunch, she quickly reduced the serving from three flapjacks to two.
Adjusting portions works well at home, too. Author and registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom suggests that parents serve their kids smaller amounts, offering seconds if they’re still hungry. Few people would save food that’s been picked over by a toddler, but with the right portioning, leftovers can be kept for another day.
Restaurants also make an effort to work with everything. “That’s how we really keep costs down: we use every part of the vegetable,” says Amanda Cohen, the Ottawa-born chef behind the lauded vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy in New York City. “Even if they’re going bad, we’ll pickle or dehydrate them.”
When fennel arrives at Saturday Dinette, Barr mixes it into her slaw, uses the fronds for fennel butter and incorporates the rest into her stock. “It’s about getting the most out of every single thing here,” she says. And if the foods can’t be incorporated on the plate right away, there are options. “Turn a loaf of bread into bread crumbs,” suggests Barr. “Challenge yourself to make something you’ve never made before.”
Hungry for more content? Check out the 10 Things You Should Never, Ever Order at Brunch, According to Chefs