How are we reducing food waste at Stanwell House?
As environmental awareness grows, we believe it’s our responsibility as a hospitality business to set an example.
Recently, our Executive Head Chef, Chris Wheeldon, sat down with Catering Today to discuss our sustainability initiatives.
Keep reading to discover some of his top strategies for reducing waste in the food industry:
Reducing Food Waste: Why is it Important?
Did you know that the UK food industry wastes around 1.9 million tonnes of food annually?
Figures such as these have led to a surge of campaigns and initiatives aimed at tackling the issue. One such initiative is Stop Food Waste Day, which falls on 26th April.
At Stanwell House, we’re proud to be implementing ways to minimise waste. We recently caught up with our Executive Head Chef, Chris, who shared his thoughts on the importance of reducing food waste in the hospitality industry.
Reducing Food Waste: Repurposing Ingredients
Our whole ethos at Stanwell House revolves around sustainability. For us, this starts in the kitchen.
Chris regularly introduces new, innovative ideas that help us to achieve our eco-friendly goal.
He ensures that much of the meat that enters the kitchen is smoked and salted so that it lasts longer, reducing food waste. Chris also makes use of our various food and beverage outlets to minimise waste, as we strive to become more environmentally conscious at Stanwell House.
Elaborating on this approach, Chris said: “I try to interlink as much as I can. So, if I’m using a garnish, say asparagus or something as a starter in a bar, then I’ll use it as a garnish in the restaurant on a couple of dishes which reduces our footprint and reduces our payroll.”
Reducing Food Waste: Portion Management
In Chris’ opinion, one of the best ways of reducing food waste is through portion management.
Here at Stanwell House, we don’t believe in piling plates high or ordering more food than necessary. Chris knows that this is one of the major culprits of waste in the hospitality industry, and we’re committed to changing that.
“By managing portions carefully and mindfully, we can reduce waste and make sure that every meal is just right – for the environment and for our customers.
Chris said: “The biggest cause of food waste, I would say, is over ordering or portions being too large. Also, it’s always a majorly important thing not to over order, you have to know what’s in the fridges.
“If we run out of a dish, I don’t mind too much because it’s a good sign that we’re running out of fresh food and again, assists us in less waste.
“It’s a hidden cost to the business I don’t think people really appreciate. I’m hoping it will become more focused on and I hope people are buying into it a bit more.”
The Responsibility of Restaurants
Sustainability is more than just a matter of business — it’s our passion and responsibility.
We believe that the UK food industry should unite in the fight against food waste, and we’re proud to be doing our part.
Discussing why restaurants should consider reducing food waste, Chris said: “I think it’s very much a big responsibility and I think it’s very important. When food waste is reduced as much as possible it’s good profitability for the business and it’s good for the environment.
“The customers keep quite savvy these days in terms of where products are coming from and some people will openly say that, if it’s not a sustainable product, they’ll certainly let you know.
“At the moment, I’m looking at salmon issues and the sustainability of that. So we don’t have salmon on our menus because some people are very against it.”
Chris’ Thoughts on The Long-Term Effects of Food Waste
At Stanwell House, we’re all about looking to the future and ensuring that our practices are sustainable in the long run. That’s why we take food waste seriously and Chris is leading the charge to future-proof our luxury hotel.
With our efforts to reduce waste, we hope to set an example for the rest of the food industry and encourage others to join us on this important journey towards sustainability.
Speaking of this, Chris said: “At the moment, we’re looking into an automated composter. That will take all our food waste (apart from any large bones, which we try to avoid buying anyway) and compost it, all within 24 hours.
“I would like to really think that if we can lead the way in terms of automated composters, more companies will follow with their time and effort. They’re not cheap to set up and there are implications but I think, in the future, I’d like to see more restaurants take the bet on waste.
“They can sell it as a byproduct or they can give it away as a byproduct to their local communities, and I think that’s really important.
“The more the systems are in place, the more economical they’ll become and I think it’s better for the environment. Hotels are a luxury market which uses electricity and gas all day. So you need to make it as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.”
Alternatively, why not take a look at our previous blog to discover our installation of a UK-first cooking range?