LeanPath’s Executive Chef, Robb White, recently addressed three of the biggest waste culprits in the kitchen: Overbuying, Fear of Running Out, and Knife Skills.

1. Overbuying is when more food was purchased than could be utilized before it was spoiled, passed the serve by date, or deteriorated in quality. White lists several solutions to help curb overbuying:
• Plan menus to cross-utilize ingredients.
• Utilize software programs to track spending.
• Ask for package sizes that will provide the quantity you need.
• Arrange for smaller, more frequent deliveries.
• Track all food waste to identify a baseline and measure the impact of changes.

2. Fear of Running Out due to the scrutiny chefs face from the public can lead to overbuying. The following strategies can help reduce the likelihood of running out of an item:
• Keep accurate records of the rate at which a product is bought and consumed; these records assist the chef in forecasting the menu and placing food orders accordingly.
• Communicate with the service staff so guests know what is unavailable on the menu before ordering.
• Use production sheets and order guides so the kitchen staff know how much to prep and the chef knows how much to order.

3. Knife Skills are the fundamental building block of any chef’s career. Knife skills are vitally important for various reasons such as safety, even cooking of uniformly cut food, and visual appeal. White stresses the importance of training cooks to prep and fabricate a wide variety of produce, meats, and poultry. He lists what a chef can do to improve the knife skills of the kitchen’s team:
• Invest in proper cutting equipment, such as knives that can be used by the entire kitchen staff and pre-cut/pre-fab products to prevent improper prepping of food.
• Make spot checking trim waste a learning opportunity for anyone who is throwing away useable food items.
• Pair experienced cooks with the high cost items.
• Utilize trim and scraps in stocks, soups, and sauces to reduce the amount of food wasted.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with food waste reduction and recovery. The RecyclingWorks website includes resources such as a Food Waste Estimation Guide and guidance on Reducing Food Waste. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at info@recyclingworksma.com..