Charlie Cottrell from Channel 4 has just published an article about the amount of food waste that restaurants in the UK are producing. She interviewed Tommi about the lenghts Wahaca goes to in order to keep the amount of waste to a minimum. Here’s a brief excerpt from Charlie’s article:
“What sort of food waste does Wahaca produce?
Tommi: A lot is off-cuts, so, if you’re using a cauliflower, you’ve got all the stems and that; some is what people don’t finish on their plates, but we use small plates so it’s easy for people to order the amount they want, from a snack to a whole meal. I’d say our food waste is about 2 per cent of cost.
What procedures do you have in place to deal with food waste?
Tommi: We’ve been recycling our food waste since the day we opened. We use a company called Aardvark and they make compost from our food waste. Occasionally they send us back soil and we give that away. We give away chilli seeds at the restaurant and when kids come in we make plant pots out of our old menus and put a bit of soil in and the chilli seeds and give them to the children. It’s quite a fun circle!
How easy is it to implement the system?
Tommi: We just separate everything straight away in the kitchen. It’s like anything – if you train your staff to do something from the very start, it becomes second nature. If you say, ‘This is a serious issue for your children’, if you make it personal to them, that’s when they take is seriously.
What changes could the industry make to deal with food waste?
Tommi: Catering and events need to tackled. The amount that gets wasted is outrageous. Ooh and use doggy bags! My husband hates it but I’m all for saying, ‘Can I take that home?’ if I haven’t finished what I ordered. I love cooking with leftovers.”
To read the rest of the article which goes into more detail about other restaurants in the UK click here.