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Steven Satterfield on Fighting Food Waste

Maggie Borden

June 28, 2016

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Nose-to-tail and no-waste cooking may be all the rage in today’s dining culture, but few chefs talk the talk and walk the walk the way Steven Satterfield does. The JBF Boot Camp alum, multiple JBF Award nominee, and cookbook author designed every inch of his Atlanta hot spot Miller Union to combat waste, from the layout of the kitchen to the training given to each member of the staff. Not satisfied simply tackling the issue in the professional kitchen, Satterfield set out to address it for home cooks with his JBF Award–nominated cookbook Root to Leaf, which offers a field guide to cooking seasonally, and as the title implies, leaves no stalk unturned. All month long we’ve been running an Instagram contest and providing recipes to get you into the food waste–fighting zone, and we reached out to Satterfield for some straightforward tips to help reduce waste, whether you’re wearing a chef’s jacket or your basic apron. Read on for his suggestions for the first steps you can take in the restaurant or home kitchen to make waste a thing of the past.

 

Three Steps for Reducing Waste in Your Restaurant:

1. Purchase wisely—think carefully about how much fresh food you will need to cover service over the next few days, and only buy what you need and will use or serve.

2. Preserve or put up for later use. If you have too much of one product and you want to avoid wasting it: pickle it, preserve it, freeze it, or repurpose it.

3. Serve smaller portions. Pay attention to post-consumer dining scraps and identify dishes that no one can finish. Adjust the portion size to fit diners’ needs. The bonus is that you can then lower the price and sell more of it!

 

Three Steps for Reducing Waste at Home:

1. “Best by” or expiration dates are the manufacturer’s guidelines for quality and freshness, not food safety. Following them can often lead to throwing perfectly good food away. Be wise about them (cultured dairy and dry goods last longer than advertised, and dry packaged goods may last much longer than the date on the package), use your best judgment, and assess as needed. 

2. Make soup with the odds and ends from the fridge, leftovers, or items that could potentially go to waste.

3. Shop in smaller amounts and shop more frequently. Purchasing food in smaller quantities means less chance of waste and more awareness of what you have on hand.

 

 

Want more waste-combatting inspiration? Make Satterfield's Lightly Creamed Corn with Summer Mushrooms from Root to Leaf, and post on Instagram for a chance to win a copy of the book!