Did you know that commercial kitchens in the food industry are responsible for 0.4 million tonnes of avoidable food waste in the UK?
The financial impact that food waste can have on a commercial kitchen is staggering and when you are working hard to create fabulous food and stick to a budget, cutting down on the waste is the number 1 way to start saving money fast.
There are a few different ways you can cut down on the waste produced in your kitchen, from reviewing portion sizes to paying close attention to the foods being ordered but there will always be left overs, no matter how careful you are or how good your food tastes.
It is knowing what to do with these left overs that could make all the difference in your kitchen so before you through away what remains from your dinner service check out all of the fab ways you can re-purpose meals to be used another day, in another way.
Vegetables left over from a mammoth prep session can be used to create a comforting soup, perfect for those Autumn/Winter menus.
Seasons & Suppers has a wonderful tried and tested cream of vegetable soup recipe.
Wizz up some stale bread left over from the breakfast service and turn it into bread crumbs for a crunchy topping that can be added to an array of dishes. Transform the breadcrumbs by mixing them with herbs or cheese to add an extra tasty element.
In true Chef multitasking style, you can have a batch baking in the bottom of the oven while you are cooking for your next service. Try adding salt and pepper, garlic, herbs or spices to create your own signature crouton flavour.
Meat bones and vegetable scraps make a great broth or stock so encourage your team to save it all up during prep then add it to a large pan with some herbs and spices to create a great base for a heap of recipes.
For inspiration on what to do with your home made broth take a look at this great article by BestRecipes
Whether it is a full meal or a collection of left over ingredients, when you wrap it in pastry you conjure up a whole new dish that can become a great addition to any lunch menu when served with a crisp side salad, seasonal vegetables or fluffy potatoes.
Add a potato topping or a pasty lid to any dish to create a heart warming pie that will provide plenty of servings. This is a great option when you are trying to maximise your kitchen budget, potatoes are cheap, are often left over from service and can go a long way.
The Hairy Bikers have an array of great recipes on their site but this one for left over pie is just too good to miss
No matter what the ingredients are you can bet your life that you can make a cracking Chili from them. Transforming spaghetti bolognaise into a rich flavoursome chili is an easy ‘go to’ transformation dish.
You could make a super simple version just by adding some kidney beans and some chilli powder to your spaghetti bolognaise sauce but if you have the time to go the extra mile then do check out this recipe by Michelle Leonardson.
Any left over’s, from pulled pork, to curry and macaroni cheese to shepherds pie can be stuffed into bell peppers, topped with cheese and baked for a fab colourful addition to any menu.
The Kitchen posted this great article about using left overs in stuffed peppers here.
Left over tomatoes, cheese, onions, stock, vegetables and herbs can come together to create an inspired pasta sauce.
For a heap of pasta sauce ideas check out bonappetit.
Pretty much anything with sauce can be turned into a heart tasty curry with the right combination of spices and a tin of tomatoes or coconut milk from the store cupboard.
Take a look at The Happy Foodie to find some mouthwatering curry recipes.
One of our Blue Arrow chefs gave some great advice on freezing and re-purposing left overs in a recent interview.
“it is best to freeze the left overs and send it out as something else the following week, not the next day, because if the people you are serving are there every day, they can quickly work out what was yesterday’s dinner.”
No doubt you are brimming with ideas for tasty new recipes but before you go it is important to remember that different foods have varying prep, store and reheat requirements so always fall back on your training to ensure you are working within the Food Safety guidelines at all times, if in doubt, find out!