This chef’s practical tips for reducing food waste in your kitchen are going viral on TikTok
May 26, 2023 | Chef | No Comments|
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to throw away vegetables that went bad before you could cook them.
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The person I was last time I went shopping was very optimistic about how much broccoli I can eat in a week…
Throwing away food is never a good feeling, but it’s even worse when groceries are expensive. It’s no wonder, then, that 41-year-old chef Alison Mountford (@itscchefalison)’s food waste prevention tips are going viral on TikTok.
Alison’s videos have racked up millions of views. In some of her most popular clips, she shows viewers how to soften brown sugar that has turned into a brick using a piece of bread and what to do with garlic that is about to spoil yourself (spoiler: you have to make delicious confit garlic).
Friends who know that I teach home cooking to reduce their food waste give me their aging vegetables. This week was 3 1/2 pounds of peeled garlic! But, even if you only have a handful of peeled garlic, or even old clothes, you can use this oil poaching trick to make sweet, roasted garlic and oil infused with garlic. one shot. I put most of this in my freezer and won’t be peeling the garlic for next year
♬ original sound – Alison Mountford
@itschefalison / Via tiktok.com
And commentators are extremely on board with his message.
I needed to know more about her mission to reduce food waste and her top tips for home cooks, so I contacted her via email.
Alison told BuzzFeed that she runs a food delivery and catering business, and her experiences there opened her eyes to how much food was wasted. “During this time I worked in clients’ homes, in their offices and for five years I had coffee. Through all this experience I got to see how home cooks, families, consumers and corporations manipulated their food and where they struggled.”
“Around 2015, I learned about the huge environmental impact of food waste and that around 40% of food waste happens at home. I realized that I had a very particular view of home cooking and I decided to teach people how to reduce food scraps! It’s such a simple, eco-friendly action that anyone can take, with no special equipment or skills required. I remain passionate every time someone ‘one leaves a comment or shares a photo of what he did!
She also shared the two biggest mistakes she sees home cooks make that lead to them throwing away food. The number one culprit is simply buying too much food without planning how to use it. “It’s common to shop for groceries without a real plan in mind and this leads to bringing home about 30% more food than you will actually cook and eat. If you learn to make a meal plan that matches your mood and lifestyle, THEN grocery shop to match that plan, you’ll effortlessly waste less food.”
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Alison also sees home cooks sticking to dates on food packaging rather than relying on their senses, which can lead them to throw away food that hasn’t quite passed its prime. “Use by, sell by, best before and other ‘expiration’ dates are NOT about food safety (only infant formula is regulated for safety), they are about manufacturing and some quality. We don’t make ourselves confidence to look at a food to know if it is safe to eat, and so we panic and throw it away.”
And she shared that most people don’t understand the full impact of food waste. “Food in the landfill releases methane which is the gas responsible for global warming, but also, wasted food wastes fresh water, valuable cropland, natural gases and resources needed for refrigeration and transportation. , that wastes billions of dollars a year, and there are millions of people in the United States alone who are food insecure Whether you can afford to buy more groceries is just one part of the concern.”
When you have to throw food away, Alison recommends composting it, because that way it doesn’t sit in a methane-producing landfill. BTW, you don’t need to have an outdoor space to compost – you can also use a sealable bin indoors. Or if you live in an urban area, check to see if your city has a composting or organic waste disposal program that can make it easier for you.
@itschefalison / Via tiktok.com
Alison also founded Ends + Stems, a website devoted to teaching people how to reduce their food waste. “I have a ‘What’s in your fridge? “Recipe Finder” on the site and instructions for a food waste audit to get you started on your journey! There’s a meal planner app to put together recipes and cook dinner more easily. I do a lot of public speaking with public and private groups who want cooking classes, meal planning classes, or food waste awareness classes.
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