Neon Tummy

Too much food when other people are starving

I’ve long believed that chefs can radically reduce food waste by planning better, prepping less food, and donating leftovers, in that order. Other strategies, such as “tray-less dining,” help in “all you care to eat” settings, such as college dining halls. I recently decided to put my beliefs to the test. In doing so, I realized the limitations of my good intentions and how tough it can sometimes be to put ideas into practice.

I attended a chefs’ competition — a real one, without squadrons of makeup artists, predetermined “secret” ingredients, or unseen hours of washing and prepping ingredients — for Bon App├ętit Management Company chefs. This semiannual Northern California Chefs Exchange started at 7 a.m. with a butchery demonstration, followed by a farmers’ market trip and then a tutorial on artisanal tofu making. By noon, the 32 chefs I accompanied on their morning journey were as hungry to compete with each other as they were to eat each others’ creations……

Food waste happens, especially when feeding a crowd. Fewer guests show up at events than expected, an inexperienced chef or host that genuinely wants to demonstrate generosity orders far too much food. But donating leftovers has its complications too, even with the best of intentions at play. Most agencies want familiar food, not “fancy food.” And like the rest of the population, they want meat. For those of us on the giving end, it’s important to experience our embarrassments — and get over them. Reducing food waste is critically important for humanitarian and environmental reasons, but donating prepared food has its challenges. Perhaps this means we need to work harder at not having so many leftovers in the first place.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: The Atlantic