bits and bites

Five Ways for Foodies to Fight Food Waste

By Charlie Ayers | January 18, 2017
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Charlie Ayers and salmon two ways: Salmon Chowder and Mahogany Salmon

Reducing food waste may not seem like the most appetizing of topics, but it is becoming a hot one in some the trendiest restaurants across the country. No longer strictly relegated to the über eco-conscious, the subject of fighting food waste is moving into the mainstream.

At Calafia Café, there’s an unspoken rule to make the most out of food. In the kitchen, we look for cool and creative ways to use everything from the top of a beet to the small leaves under the cauliflower.

Super-sized meals are never on the table. Our portions are healthy, but not excessive. Every year, the United States throws out nearly 40% of its food, which is hard to rationalize when so many people go hungry. But there are simple ways to curb those numbers. Here are five easy ways to reduce food waste:



1. BIGGER ISN’T BETTER: Not only do we serve smaller, more realistic portions at the restaurant, we shop in a similar way as we do our home groceries, trying not to over buy. If possible, shop more often and buy less.

2. MULTI-PURPOSE: Get the most out of your food. For instance, Calafia’s Mahogany Salmon is a popular dish and we make sure to use as much of the fish as possible. Salmon scrap becomes salmon burgers, sandwiches and soups. We do the same with beef and bread. Day-old bread can turn into everything from croutons to piecrust.

3. PUT A ZING ON IT: Not every product can be used in another meal but that doesn’t mean go ahead and toss it in the trash. Add a little zing to your plate instead! We fry the asparagus peels and use them as a garnish with a poached egg in our asparagus dish. The tiny green leaves beneath the heads of cauliflower make a great garnish on the cauliflower soup. Also, you can often use the tops of a number of fruits and veggies as garnish or place it on top of a dish to add a little flavor.

4. LOVIN’ LEFTOVERS: Often people don’t want to take home leftovers, but why not? If you don’t finish, wrap it up and save it for the next day!

5. EAT UGLY: A lot of produce will never get into the grocery store because it’s funny looking. But crooked carrots, unusually shaped eggplants and funky apples taste as good as the perfectly shaped ones. There’s a movement under way to promote the use of so-called “ugly fruit.” Imperfect fruits and veggies are slowly getting a little respect, and they cost less, but more retailers need to offer them.

Reducing food waste saves money and helps the environment. And let’s not forget: Once you make it part of your daily routine, it creates endless opportunities for innovation.

Mahogany Salmon
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