On a recent visit to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, I helped lead a food waste focused cooking demo with Executive Chef Michael Palmer and the college’s Office of Sustainability.
The goal of the demo was to educate students about the many creative and tasty ways they can lower the amount of food waste they produce by making the most of their ingredients.
Michael led the students through how to make vegetable stock using vegetable scraps that are too often discarded. The humble but mighty onion peel was the star of the show! While adding the peels to the stock, Michael mentioned that they typically enhance the flavor of the broth and help to give it a rich, golden color. He went on to chop up and add the base of a celery plant, as well as carrots, noting that simply using carrots peels would also suffice. As an accomplished mushroom forager, Michael also mentioned that adding mushroom stems is a great way to add an umami flavor to any stock.
For the next portion of the demo, Michael taught the group how to make a low-waste slaw. He sliced up broccoli stems (just as edible and tasty as broccoli florets!), cauliflower leaves, fennel, green onion, and whipped up a homemade celery seed sage vinaigrette to go with it. While simple, the students loved sampling the delicious slaw.
After the cooking portion of the event, students took the opportunity to ask Michael questions. A wide variety of topics beyond food waste were covered ranging from technical knife skills to the diverse food scene in Portland to what it is like to be an executive chef for Bon Appétit.
This demo was a fantastic opportunity for students to interact with and learn from someone who makes their food each day, while discovering creative waste-reduction tips in the process!