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Home cooks use every scrap to reduce waste

Taking after professional cooks can save households hundreds of dollars, says Metro Vancouver

Liam Paul and Cristiano Posteraro prepare chicken stock hours before the doors open to Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill. Photo: Nick Valka
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Reported by Nick Valka

While using every last food scrap in the kitchen to create dishes is now commonplace in local restaurant culture, the waste saving technique is starting to enter local households.

Waste-based cuisine has become a trendy term to describe something restaurants have practiced for a long time, which is using items such as peelings from vegetables or bones and trims from proteins to create their dishes. However, this practice is gaining popularity inside local homes.

Ann Rowan, program manager of collaboration initiatives for Metro Vancouver, said she tries to think of creative ways to utilize food waste at home.

“For things that are really good waste like carrot peelings and chicken bones, they go into a boiling pot of water to make a soup stock,” Rowan said. “We can make a difference.”

Metro Vancouver says food waste costs households hundreds each year

Metro Vancouver is currently in the third and final year of its Love Food Hate Waste campaign. The campaign is designed to reduce avoidable food waste in homes, and according to Metro Vancouver communications coordinator Alison Schatz, there is a significant amount of food being by wasted that could be utilized.

“Food waste is a serious issue in our region,” Schatz said. “A typical household in Metro Vancouver wastes $700 worth of food per year.”

While this program targets households, utilizing food waste has always been a point of focus in restaurants. The production of food uses a large number of resources, from water to labour, and throwing away food means those resources are wasted.

Whether it’s saving vegetable skins and meat bones to make soup stock, or the green tops of radishes and carrots to make pesto, Giuseppe Posteraro, chef and owner of Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca in Yaletown, uses every last bit of food in his high-end cuisine.

“It’s part of my culture,” Posteraro said. “With stale bread, I make breadcrumbs. In cooking, nothing eventually gets thrown away, it gets recycled.”

Posteraro said that minimizing food waste is a trend that should be practiced around the world.

“We don’t take into consideration that whatever we waste, it would keep alive many other people around the planet.”

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