It’s time to admit it. Whether unknowingly or out of pure laziness, we throw away perfectly edible food all the time. We buy too much, we don’t store things correctly, we lampoon ugly vegetables, and we’re not making every possible forkful go the distance.
Auckland chef Kyle Street – who is preparing to launch a low-waste restaurant, Culprit, later this year – spent Wednesday night teaching 120 people to use the traditionally unloved cuts of food at Prefab at an event as part of the Wellington on a Plate schedule.
Street and co-chefs Jordan MacDonald, Ryan Brooks, Kristan Mulcahy and Ronnie Yong crafted an All Taste, No Waste menu, outlining four important lessons when considering food waste. Here’s what we learnt.
1. THINK SUSTAINABLY
Street says: “There are secondary fish species that aren’t at risk, but because they’re cheap, they’re looked upon in the wrong way.”
Boarfish isn’t exactly the sexiest fish when compared with the likes of salmon and bluefin tuna, but it is plentiful and delicious.
Make boarfish kokonda with avocado, coconut cream, and a bruised tomato jelly — as these chefs did — and you’re away laughing.
The second small dish was the buttermilk fried snapper wings with parsley mayo. For something that is quite awkward to eat, I inhaled the snapper wings faster than anyone else at my table. I also took the liberty of using lashings of the table’s shared parsley mayo. And I don’t normally like parsley, but Street is a food magician, so there you go.
2. BE FRUGAL
Street says: “If you’re cooking duck; go nose to tail. Use everything, including the offal.”
Using the whole beast is a good rule-of-thumb for the eco-conscious.
Ducks were unlucky enough to be the beast of choice for our feast.
Street started with two small dishes: duck leftover tortellini with duck bone consomme and duck liver parfait with donut holes.
The main was pork stuffed stuffed Peking duck with hoisin, spring onion bottoms and pickled cucumber peels.
3. DON’T BIFF THE UGLY STUFF
Street says: “I want to get people talking about our perception that a perfectly-formed parsnip is better than an ugly parsnip – which is rubbish.”
France has been spearheading the anti-food waste movement, and New Zealand is following suit, but it’s long overdue that Kiwis commit to putting flavour before beauty.
Street’s interest in re-claiming ‘ugly’ produce permeated into the third section, as he served gigantic whole roast carrots with pumpkin seed dukkah and smoked yoghurt.
“Society has places where they waste perfectly good products. I want to show how seriously easy it is to stop being so wasteful.”
4. AVOID WASTE
The grand finale was a stale slider bun and brown banana pudding with barista milk soft serve.
Prefab, where the event was held, saved all their unused barista milk for the day and gave it to the chefs to turn into soft serve.
Our table somehow ended up with an extra slice of pudding, but I couldn’t tell you where that went.