How Eco-Friendly is Your Kitchen?
Going Green Means More Than Simply Recycling
If a modern Eco-friendly restaurant begins with serving green fare from menus on recycled paper, it certainly doesn’t end there.
Today’s kitchen manager is faced with a diverse set of options to consider, habits to develop and procedures you can adopt to be the greenest operation in town—with the rights to brag about it! You can even custom-develop green choices to suit your specifications of limited space, that will bring your kitchen into the environmentally conscious 21st century.
Little Changes, Big Impact
Begin by choosing cookware and utensils that will heartily stand the test of time and won’t have to be thrown away after a few big jobs. Opt for stainless steel or cast iron cooking surfaces in your pans and select utensils of the highest quality over cheaper ones. Purchase the best knives you can afford and that you can sharpen by hand. Use long-lasting and washable cotton cloths for small spills etc. instead of a mountain of wasteful paper products.
Many professional cooks already know the benefits of cooking more than one dish in the oven at once, but might not realize their time-saving measure is also incredibly energy efficient! Add to that the increased use of energy efficient appliances on the market today, and you will be amazed at the weekly, monthly and annual savings over time to your business if you simply start practicing a few of these ideas.
Want to really take it a step further? Grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables and use your kitchen composted waste as a fertilizer. Some local restrictions may apply in different areas for these kinds of ventures, but do your homework and see what you can do, to do your part for the planet!
Buy locally raised, grown, and slaughtered meats, local dairy including creams and cheeses, and if you can’t do those, at the least buy local fruits and vegetables to delight your guests with the tastes of your region.
What is known as food miles, the energy expended on the supply side to your business, have risen drastically in recent years, and the fewer miles from farm to table, the better. If possible, support a local community-based agricultural co-op for your organic and farm-raised menu features. You can also usually find local farmers’ markets to shop at or get creative and purchase directly from farmers themselves.
Waste Not, Want Not
You might know but not really think about how much waste the kitchen generates in a typical food service environment. There is the excessive packaging of ingredients and staples from your suppliers, which you can take real steps toward reducing or even choosing to purchase those using the least amount of egregious packing material. And finally, you can do a lot of good by simply trying to re-use more of what is feasible, such as old jars or bottles, bags, and cardboard, etc.
Energy-efficient food preparation and kitchen cleaning routines, using equipment made from sustainable materials, and steering clear of toxic chemical substances are equally as important if you want to have a truly healthy kitchen. Does this sound daunting? It could, but making the right choices for your customer’s well-being is just as good for the pocket as it is for the planet.
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