During our Rethinking Restaurants webinar series, we talked with chef Matt Orlando from Amass, Copenhagen, on how to reduce food waste in restaurants.
Our chat gave us interesting insights on Amass’s best practices around water management, as well as an overview of what an R&D kitchen is and what it means to work with by-products. (Spoiler: the secret pumpkin seed oil recipe from Amass is revealed in the webinar!).
Speaker of the session: Matt Orlando, chef & owner of Amass restaurant. Chef Matt Orlando started his career at the age of 16 and worked for various restaurants around the world including AUREOLE, Le Bernardin, Belmond Le Manoir, The Fat Duck, Noma with, and Per Se; in 2013 he opened his own restaurant Amass in Refshaleøen, Copenhagen, fostering the culture of good food and sustainability.
Thanks to their sustainability program, the restaurant was awarded “Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2017” by the White Guide Denmark. Between 90-100% of their food & beverages are certified organic from the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, and the restaurant’s practices include reducing food waste, composting, recycling, or tracking greenhouse emissions in collaboration with Zero Food Print.
What does “minimizing food waste” mean?
According to chef Orlando, there is no such thing as “zero waste“– because, as soon as you turn the light on in your restaurant, you are producing something.
From starting to save their restaurant’s water (we are talking about saving up to 90 liters a day, translating into 10.000 $ of refunds during their first year) to finding experimental ways to recycle unusable candles, the Amass kitchen team could experience a significant reduction of expenses in their restaurant.
How do you define “by-products”?
If you don’t embrace a certain mindset, you won’t fit in here. All the people that come to work here, however, do embrace our philosophy (…) What’s important for me is that you’re not just a robot, but that you’re able to absorb and give back something. Here is what it takes to work at Amass, the R&D kitchen focusing on by-products.
By-products drive Amass’s creativity and foster the culture of sustainability on which the restaurant is founded. The restaurant’s sustainability practices include reducing food waste, composting, recycling, or tracking greenhouse emissions. Thanks to their experimental approach and leadership, the restaurant is now self-sufficient in producing its own products, such as an exquisite pumpkin seed oil (the recipe is available through the full webinar video).
What do you think about restaurants using luxury items?
To chef Orlando, luxury ingredients represent a lack of creativity - "they’re just not exciting to me and I think there are more interesting ingredients out there". Also, not all of them are produced in the most sustainable way— except for truffles.
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