Joanne Weir + Reducing Food Waste!
Real Chefs Reducing Food Waste! – Interview Series
Joanne Weir is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, international cooking teacher and renowned chef. A fourth generation professional chef, Joanne spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and studied with Madeleine Kamman in France, where she was awarded a Master Chef Diploma with honors. Her ultimate calling is teaching others to cook in the United States and throughout the world. Joanne has a long history as a host for her own cooking show which airs nationally on both PBS and CREATE. Joanne has been featured on numerous television shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America and Fox to name a few. She also writes for many national magazines including Cooking Light, Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, Food & Wine, AARP The Magazine and Sunset Magazine
Find Joanne on Facebook and her Website.
And, OMG, if you’re in the Bay Area, don’t miss Copita in Sausalito, its so delicious.
A few years ago I had a really cool side gig – I was the behind the scenes chef supporting Celebrity Chef Demos called PLATED! on Saturday mornings in a local shopping center. The demos were MC’d by popular host, Liam Mayclem. We had tons of fun and I had the opportunity to meet and work with some incredible chefs. One of those chefs was Joanne Weir. Joanne was warm, fun and down to earth. One of my goals with Ends+Stems is to show larger picture of the effects of wasting edible food and a great way to start is by getting to know what the professionals are up to in their kitchens.
Kicking off this series I’m pleased to share my interview with Chef Joanne. Since she comes from a long line of chefs, not wasting food is ingrained in her belief system.
In what ways do you think about Food Waste in your restaurants?
I hardly throw anything away. If I buy beets with the leafy greens attached, I roast the beets and sauté both the stems and leaves so I’m using the whole plant. With parsley, I might use the leaves as a garnish or a salsa verde but I use the stems to flavor chicken or vegetable stock. When I cut a cut a whole chicken into pieces, I’Il save the breasts, legs and thighs for dinner with I freeze the back and wings and use them later for stock. Save your vegetable trimmings for a simple to make and delicious vegetable stock. I encourage the same at my restaurant.
Why does it matter to you?
I grew up with parents and grandparents who had great regard for food. It’s as simple as that.
What are some of the factors in preventing food waste?
Educate yourself on how to use every part of the meats, poultry, vegetables and fruit.
What would you like to tell diners/consumers about food waste? Is there anything they can do to take part?
Before you throw food into the trash, take a look and see how it can be used. Scour your own pantry, cabinets and refrigerator and see what surprises you might find that are usable. There a great saying called “making soup out of a stone” and try it. I am sure you have many “stones” in your refrigerator that you can make into something delicious.
How does your life as a chef – running multiple restaurants, working closely with farmers & food systems – affect your life, cooking for your family at home?
We are so lucky to have accessibility to excellent ingredients in both restaurants and now at home because of farmer’s markets, demand and awareness. We have to continue to buy the best seasonal, local, organic and sustainable ingredients and support our local farmers.
What is your favorite “pantry cleaner” dish?
I always have homemade chicken stock in the freezer and vegetables in the refrigerator. There is nothing better than chicken soup with all kinds of fresh vegetables. Sometimes I even throw in a handful of French lentils, farro, farfalle pasta or jasmine rice. This is my favorite go-to meal especially after I’ve gotten off a long flight and returned home.
Do you have any tips for the home cook on how to be more professional in their kitchens to save money or reduce waste?
Before you toss it into the trash, look at it and think what can I do with this? Is it usable? Use everything including all of the “end and stems!” Use it, don’t pitch it.
Anything else you want to add?
I love what you are doing and congratulations! These questions made me think and realize that I don’t waste much at all. I am giving myself a little pat on the back You too!