Waste

WASTED 7 – CANAPES, SHOW & TELL

Canapes

Rejected Canapés

We had an opportunity to show and tell a large group of people this week, so for the group of 30, we did a selection of canapés showcasing 14 potential ideas around saving and working smart. What made this event interesting, was my chef’s and their contribution, thinking outside the box.

They pushed past the normal ideas and I was kind of stunned by the creative thinking. It once again highlighted how much of what we do daily must be integrated into a menu or a recipe. We have become so obsessed with perfect loins and cuts that we lost focus on the whole. During the discussion I brought up seconds and thirds during harvesting, often the best or the firsts are always in demand and are seldom a problem to sell, the challenge comes in in selling the tomato with a blemish. Often organic well looked after vegetables are picked at the right time when it is ready to eat and not while still unripe, like in many cases shops sell items that have been picked two weeks before it should have been. With picking at the right time many items ripen past the best, but are still good for certain applications, this would be considered thirds, it is at this point that waste is found, many will not touch, this sector must be looked at a it holds possibilities not just on menu’s but for the hungry. But more on this at a later stage.

But for our lunch we presented canapés some of these concepts for the event included crispy lamb fat and celeriac skin remoulade rolled in biltong dust, Cauliflower leaf latke with trout tartare, tomato ciabatta tortelloni, spinach stalk pakora and smoked trout belly rillettes. It must be said that we use waste in recipes in conjunction with ingredients in our recipes. We will be investigating and exploring some of these recipes at a later stage.

My personal highlights was the tortelloni, bread is so underestimated, underappreciated and just gets a bad wrap because of gluten. Get over all of that and its use and application becomes far more than a sandwich or a bread crumb. We often add toasted bread crumbs with anchovy to spaghetti, which is totally divine. In this application we combined skins from tomato and peppers, stale ciabatta, wine, olive oil that is cooked down before adding off cuts parmesan for the filling.

Cook the tortellini and toss it in butter or even better burnt butter with sage(stalks).

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WASTED 6 – Time!

Juiced
Everyday we juice boxes and bags of oranges for fresh orange juice, we then throw away all the juiced oranges. On the other side of the kitchen we serve morning and afternoon tea and lots of it. It is missing something unique. Homemade goodness!
Cannot believe it took us this long to figure it out. But the first trial by Chef Jaco was snapped up by Craig our pastry chef for the cheese boards. The thinking was to make a marmalade for the scones and the preserve for the cheese boards.
But after tasting the orange preserve we all decided that it will work fantastically on the scones with clotted cream. The biggest challenge in making this preserve is time, and more time as the oranges are cooked multiple times in fresh water to remove the bitterness. The result is unique as the skins are soft, very soft and easy to apply.
We still have a lot of skins, we need to consider other applications, orange salt, candied oranges and marmalade.
With the shortage of water, we will have to cut one or two steps.

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WASTED 5 – Bin to Table, the fight

BIN TO TABLE CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower kimchi

When we talk about bin to table we are not taking food that is going to the bin, but rather the foods that are rescued before going to bin.
We made the kimchi two weeks before Christmas, I was angry that day because I kept on finding pieces of cauliflower stalks with no owners, if you work in a kitchen you will understand, the owner disappears, stopped working, immigrated or died. No one knows how it got there, no one saw it put there, it just appeared. So in a fit of rage I thought I would create a recipe for the cauliflower bits, to ensure that ownership is secured. We made the kimchi with a combination of leaves and stalks from cauliflower and combined it with the cabbage.
I have subsequently changed my mind and we will use more stalks in the vegetables which is a more sensible thing to do, all the outer leaves will be used in the mixture for the kimchi.
But the fight for fashionable rejected cauliflower comes with the atchar producers in our kitchen, as we have to ration who gets what.
In the first trial recipe we reduced the cabbage and made up the weight with shaved cauliflower stalks and leaves which we brined for 24 hours. For the seasoning we used dried chili flakes, garlic, ginger, apple, cooked rice, fish sauce, onion and sugar which was made into a paste before adding to cauliflower mixture.
To finish we added carrot, radish and spring onions. This was left for over three weeks before testing the first time.
After that trial not much can change it was that good. We can now start a bigger batch.

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WASTED – Announcement!

Leafy Waste2

Yesterday was a truly special day, so I have replaced this week’s post on kimchi with this short story .
We prepared our first wasted lunch at the chefs table yesterday, with all the dishes prepared from rejected, wasted and shunned produce. Five courses of pure genius from my team. I think the most important message is that nothing was new, but the level of respect for the ingredient was evident, food has become cheap and we have forgotten how to use everything, forgotten how to cook like we should, everyone can take the best parts and be creative. But the unwanted always suffer. With the menu we served some homemade kombucha and pineapple cordial. We started the lunch with “all things crispy “ from leaves to skin and tendons served with whipped beef fat flavoured with mushroom powder. The next course was made up with using the outer leaves from lettuce to make a cold soup served with charred leek picked from the greener parts. The fish course was beautiful and fresh, a tartare of trout scraped and removed from all the bones with a tempura of confit trout removed from the collar finished with a pickled lemon skin salsa.
The chicken course should read carcase and spaghetti, but what we served was a parcel made from blended spaghetti made into a dough filled with meat from the roasted carcase in a chicken veloute. With some crispy bits skins from chicken skin and parmesan skin.
Dessert was simply orange rind that essentially was made into a marmalade and then turned into a ice cream served on a croissant pudding.
Look out for a truly remarkable experience at our chef’s table only on Saturdays for lunch where we will be showcasing a wasted menu and sharing experiences and stories from and in our kitchen.

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Wasted 4 – Fashionably Rejected

SWISS CHARD

Further to the last conversation around the wasted skin and flesh, is it really waste that we are talking about? It is destined for the bin due to laziness, lack of interest, poor skills or cheap food and because it is destined for the bin, it is waste or perhaps we could call it the unwanted, shunned or fashionably rejected. It is still disrespectful and this introspect is needed.

Currently we are busy working on a number of projects and re writing a bunch of recipes. One idea we discussed is that we should not cut up anything new for creating an atchar or jam, but instead use the items left to waste. So some of these projects include kimchi with shaved cauliflower stalks, cauliflower atchar made with stalks, lime atchar, orange skin preserve, melon skin preserve, celery salt, tomato salt and marmalade made with all the oranges left over from juicing. The more we dig the more we find, the more we find the more guilt we are surrounded with, as we have forgotten how to really respect ingredients.

One of our success stories has been the complete utilisation of Swiss chard and writing the recipe around the use. It took a long time, four years probably before all the staff bought into the system that we use all. The only way was to write the recipe specific. But we had to be smart and include other bits, like the outer leaves from the baby gem leaves. Over the months we tweaked the recipe adding a little onion, chili, carrot and feta. Eventually we made the whole thing gluten free with the no crust adding some quinoa.

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WASTED 3, FROM THE BONE, TROUT TARTARE

TROUT TARTARE

We have a tendency to discard skin and bones very quickly after filleting, but there is a fair amount of flesh that remain after filleting. The easiest is the use a spoon and scrape off the excess. Then we have done two items one was a croquette with quinoa and some lemon zest and the other was a tartare. With these two examples we have opened a whole lot of other possibilitie

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WASTED 2, TROUT BELLY, SMOKED

Hot Smoked Trout

Trout Belly

Whenever we clean trout the normal rule is an approximate waste of 50%. Considering the cost is one thing, my problem is the amount that is left, the amount that is flogged most of the time to the bin. We want perfect pieces of fish with no bones with no belly.
The belly is the best part, fatty and with so much taste. So as part of this little discovery on our journey we decided to hot smoke the belly. From there we have endless possibilities from salad, pate, rillette, terrine and kedgeree.
For this part of wasted we have cured the belly with sugar and salt in equal quantities for two hours. Then hot smoked the bellies for 20 minutes. We have also put away some of the smoked belly to access what it does after being frozen.
For the salad we pulled the belly pieces in large chunks added some red onion, samphire, carrot tops and lettuce.

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To Waste or not to Waste!

IMG_6364

Cauliflower and Broccoli Stalks

As a kitchen we have moved away from hiding the unwanted and keeping all waste above table. This has not always gone down as a popular decision. Chefs are damn stubborn when it comes to change.
We are only focusing on one specific part of waste, the unwanted!
Perhaps calling unwanted parts as waste is incorrect as it still has a negative connotation associated with the part, the part needs to gain popularity in order to move up the chain and be wanted.
Recipes generally are created keeping in mind all the prime, good and sexy parts. Celery leaves are left garnishing the bin, green parts of leeks frowned at and the stalks from cauliflower and broccoli destined for either the bin or badly made soup. What we starting doing in our kitchen is writing recipes with waste in mind. Recipe books are to blame for poor cooking decisions like cross seasonal ingredients being used or no reference anywhere in what must happen with stalks and those unwanted pieces.
Food has become cheap, as it is too easy to bin something, instead of maximising each ingredient and using it to its full potential. We continuously consume without really looking at what we are consuming, wanting more and more and more. It is all just so convenient and so easy. If we felt it in our pocket we might think twice. We are so far removed from what reality is. We have no respect for ingredients, we have no respect for farmers who have taken months in growing beautiful vegetables just for us to show contempt for vegetables.
Part of this journey of ours is rediscovering ways of not wasting, maximising products in ways that guest can appreciate and staff can respect processes. We have started encouraging the lesser to be used before the popular in order to stimulate the use.
There has been numerous online publications, books as well as movies that have been written & created in order to expose and highlight the problem we face in kitchens all over from our modest homes to professional outfits with egos and attitudes.
There are off course limitations in that in some cases certain items cannot be used and for these we have a worm farm. Our objective is not to feed the worms, but instead use everything first and then feed the worms.
A good example is the quiche recipe used on our afternoon tea. It has specifically been formulated to use stalks from Swiss-chard as well a baby gem lettuce as part of the mix. This allows us to be responsible in our choices. In no part has the end product suffered.
This is a journey of discovery and learning how to cook!

Every Week a new picture will be published looking at our new favourite parts.

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