Sustainability is quickly becoming a popular trend with foodies and customers across the country, and it can be an excellent strategy for a commercial kitchen. From an ethical standpoint, it will help the restaurant reduce their environmental footprint, while from an accounting standpoint, it can help businesses save money. From a marketing perspective, customers do not only like to see chefs and staff looking professional in well designed coats, they also want to patronize companies who take responsibility for their communities. Fortunately, taking some basic steps to create a more environmentally friendly kitchen does not have to be a stressful process. Here are some fantastic ways to get started.
Sourcing Food Grown Locally And In Season
In the current global economy, many people have forgotten what it means for certain foods to be ‘in season’. Restaurants can help work towards more awareness and cutting down on the excessive transportation of vegetables and fruits from around the world by developing menus based around locally grown, in season foods. These foods tend to be much more flavorful, and in the hands of a talented chef, they can quickly become masterpieces. For example, in winter months in the Northeast, focus on root vegetables, beans, and legumes. In the spring and summer, work in tomatoes, berries, and other favorites. While it may not be possible to be entirely locally grown, every little bit helps.
Look for ways to use all of the meat and fish that comes through the door. Less ideal cuts of beef can be used to make hamburgers, bones can be used to create broths for soups and other dishes, some chefs will even use braised rib meet as a base for serving a filet mignon. Similarly, vegetable scraps can be thrown into delicious soups. This helps restaurants to save money and be better stewards of the food they have received.
Keep a separate garbage can in the kitchen specifically for food. Scrape the food off pans, plates, and other resources without mixing in metal or plastic. Each day, this garbage can be emptied into a compost pile. This helps to remind the staff about the importance of recycling while also reducing the waste the restaurant sends to the landfill. Some restaurants may also be able to take food recycling a step further by finding companies willing to take their old cooking grease and turn it into biofuel.
Repair When Possible
Many restaurants are too quick to replace items that have begun to appear slightly used. In reality, many items from chairs to utensils can be repaired and look as good as new for years to come. Just like taking the time to properly sharpen a knife can help it last quite a while, taking the time to reupholster chairs that have begun to get worn, repair bent silverware, and sharpen blender blades, can help the restaurant avoid spending extra money on replacements and limit the amount they send to landfills. Taking a few minutes each week for proper maintenance can also help kitchen items last as long as possible.
Creating a sustainable kitchen can be an excellent plan for any restaurant. Customers appreciate it, accountants appreciate it, and the environment appreciates it. Taking the above four steps to heart can take any commercial kitchen in the right direction.