By cooking up the often-overlooked parts ingredients, chefs can lower their carbon footprint and impress members.
As clubs and resorts continue to work to gain a unique edge, zero-waste dishes are becoming one of the most eco-friendly trends of the time. Studies from the past decade have shown that the dining industry loses billions of dollars on food waste each year, and even the smallest changes can save money with little effort.
This cooking style intends to use as much of the ingredient as possible—even the scraps that are traditionally tossed in the trash. Some chefs across the country have begun garnering attention for these zero-waste dishes, inspiring others to do the same.
For example, menu items may include unique parts of vegetables such as stems, leaves, and skins usually considered unattractive. Instead of throwing the often-ignored broccoli stems away, chefs may choose to ground up to create unique vegetarian dishes, broths, or sauces. Additionally, bruised vegetables and tomatoes originally ignored make their way into stews where their odd appearance has no consequence.
Chefs throughout the industry can also utilize creative ideas to repurpose traditionally tossed ingredients by thinking ahead. For example, menus may include fermented and pickled foods as well as a larger use of stocks, soups, and stews. Instead of hiding these unique ingredients, chefs can highlight their purpose and show off their ingenuity.
Keeping the menu flexible is another helpful tactic. This allows chefs to adjust a special menu item to focus on what’s currently in the pantry, all the while adding a bit of versatility for members.
Country club dining in particular has the opportunity to stand out among the rising stars in environmental stewardship. In addition to advertising biodegradable or recyclable food packaging and composting practices, zero-waste menu items could drum up enthusiasm for the club’s dedication to green practices.
Above all, zero-waste dishes check several boxes: they save money, excite members, discourage food waste as a community, and lower the club’s carbon footprint.