Michelin star chef overcomes stalemate

Celebrity chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen thinks stale food‚ overripe fruit‚ ageing vegetables and leftovers can be exciting ingredients and urges foodies to turn to them when planning meals.

At the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town this past weekend he demonstrated – in the Open Chef’s section – how to make gourmet crumble with stale cereals and rusks and bruised and overripe fruit.

The Michelin star chef is on a mission to reduce food waste with his blog and urges people to be creative about supporting #LeftoverMondays.

Preparing a menu and shopping for it and shopping online can also cut down waste‚ he advised.

“When people go shopping, they load their trolleys and get way too much food‚ which gets spoiled at home. I know it is difficult to change our ways but we can‚” Van der Westhuizen said.

He said consumers should treat the “best before” date as a guideline not a fact and trust their senses before squandering food.

“A survey found about 34% to 50% of all food produced is wasted every year‚” he said‚ yet many South Africans go to bed hungry.

The estimated nine million tons of food wasted globally a year is equivalent to the weight of 1.5 million elephants.

Van der Westhuizen is based in France‚ where it is illegal for supermarkets to throw away or destroy unsold food. Instead they must donate it to food banks and charities.

The show will donate all leftovers to FoodForward SA which collects and distributes surplus edible food to thousands of people every day.

The chef’s tips for reducing food waste include:

  • Turn vegetable scraps into stock or broth;
  • Roast potato peels as chips for snacking;
  • Use squeezed out lemons as aromatic firelighters;
  • Turn stale bread into croutons‚ breadcrumbs and bread-and-butter pudding;
  • Revive stale cereal by putting it in the oven at 150°C for three to five minutes;
  • Dilute sour milk with water and pour on to gardens for calcium enrichment;
  • Use what spoils first and “cook down” your fridge before buying more perishables;
  • Freeze extra fruit‚ vegetables‚ bread and meat;
  • Store ingredients in airtight containers.

Visit  Jan Hendrik’s blog here

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