Waste Not, Want Not: 'Scraps' salvaged

Waste Not, Want Not: 'Scraps' salvaged

No chef worth his salt lets good food go in the bin, and those at a top hotel pride themselves in turning leftovers into delicious dishes

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Students from Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary, Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College and TWGHs Yau Tze Tin Memorial College sample the food.
Students from Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary, Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College and TWGHs Yau Tze Tin Memorial College sample the food.
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP
Farmers toil in paddy fields under the baking sun to give us rice, while herders spend energy raising cattle for meat. It's irresponsible as a chef or diner to let their efforts go to the bin, says sous-chef Kenneth Yeung at Hyatt Regency hotel in Sha Tin.

Part of the attraction of a buffet is that you can take whatever you want. But that's a double-edged sword. The kitchen has to prepare a wide range of selections, but not all is eaten. And when guests have eyes larger than their stomachs, they create plate waste.

Last Wednesday, students learned how the hotel uses its food scraps, as part of Young Post's "Waste Not, Want Not" campaign.

"They have to look not just at controlling the wastage, but also hygiene," Yeung says. "The number one thing is whether the food is safe to eat. We want to make sure our guests leave the restaurant happy and well."

The seafood on ice from the night before may still taste delicious, but diners could fall ill if they eat it, as bacteria might have started to grow on the prawns, mussels and crabs. Yeung uses the leftovers to make a soup.

"By roasting the seafood in the oven, high temperatures kill the bacteria while retaining all those juicy flavours," he says.

Yeung even uses carrot peel to make vegetable stock with onions and celery, which can be used as the base for many sauces. That works for fish and meat bones too, he adds.

Other tricks include turning leftover beef, lamp chops, and steaks into a hearty stew to be served for staff, and grating bits and pieces of cheese to make macaroni and cheese.

On the day of Young Post's visit, students watched pastry sous-chef Tak Chung make a bread pudding with excess baguettes, rolls and ciabatta from the breakfast buffet. He sliced the leftover bread and spread it at the bottom of a baking dish. Then he covered the bread with a mixture of whisked eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla. After baking it in the oven, the stale bread became a delicious dessert.

"You can use croissants, too, which make the dessert more buttery," says Chung. "But it's best to avoid bread with filling, like chocolate Danishes or cocktail buns."

You may not have time to get involved with our project but that doesn't mean you can't do your part to reduce food waste. Join us in our Green Ribbon Campaign and sign the pledge to limit your own food waste!

Read about the workshops:

- Visit to South East New Territories (SENT) Landfill

- Planting crops at Fruitful Organic Farm

- Bread Run with Feeding Hong Kong to collect leftover pastries

- Visit to Hong Kong Science Park to see technology that put leftover food to new uses

- Visit to the Kowloon Bay Waste Recycling Centre to see how they turn food waste into compost

- Elvis Au, assistant director at the Environmental Protection Department, explains what the government is doing to fight food waste

- See what some schools are already doing with their food waste

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