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Zero Waste Kitchen at Le Meridien Goa, Calangute

On the occasion of World Environment Day, Chef Nishesh Seth writes on how he and his team at Le Meridien Goa, Calangute are committed to preserve the environment and are focused on driving sustainable initiatives throughout the hotel.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only that ever has” – Margaret Mead.

At Le Meridien Goa Calangute, we are committed to preserving the environment and are focused on driving sustainable initiatives throughout the hotel. As part of our efforts, we have taken strategic initiative to drive zero wastage in the kitchen.

Sustainability Initiatives
Identify dishes from the menu that are returned with the most left overs – this indicates two things: portion size is too big or has to do with taste preference – both these are reasons to evaluate that dish’s place in the menu. Simply changing your menu can reduce food wastage and increase profitability.

Correct labelling of containers and proper storage practices helps reduce cross contamination and wastage.
Following the FIFO (first in first out) system will ensure proper usage of products, improve efficiency in ordering and reduce wastage.

Sunday Brunch is a big attraction in every city for every hotel/restaurant. At Le Meridien Goa, we moved the format to a set-menu (featuring over 50 dishes) instead of a buffet format to enable guests to indulge in all their favourites cooked to their personal preference/taste and at the right temperature, while reducing wastage as we no longer needed to discard least preferred items from the buffet.

We cook dishes in batches for large events.

At our associate cafeteria, we have implemented ‘No Bin Days’ thrice a week, where we eliminate wastage of food.

Zero waste cooking
Re-purposing has been a large part of culinary practices in many parts of the world, especially in certain regions which practiced nose-to-tail eating. At Le Meridien Goa, we use leftover raw vegetables, chicken and lamb bones to make our respective stocks and over-ripened bananas go into making banana bread. Goan cuisine owing to it’s influence from Portuguese cuisines does have dishes that use ofal meats. The reason for this is these dishes were brought to Portugal & Goa by the African slaves that the Portuguese had brought with them. Hence our signature local dishes Sorpotel and Chicken Peri Peri use pork liver and chicken liver/gizzard respectively. Chicken Peri Peri – this recipe that originated in Africa and was brought by the Portuguese to Goa uses chicken liver and gizzard. Gizzard is low in fat and high in vitamins including Vitamin B12 which is essential for effective functioning of the brain and to form white blood cells and Vitamin B2 that is needed for growth and overall good health.

Pork Sorpotel – a popular dish in Goan homes, a must have on the menu for all celebratory occasions originated in Africa and was brought to Goa by the Portuguese. This dish uses pork liver as one of the main ingredients (along with pork tongue/kidney). Pork liver offers over 100 per cent of the regular daily intake for many essential nutrients and is rich in protein while being low in calories.

Ways to reduce waste
Practicing mindfulness is key to reducing wastage. By carefully reviewing inventory and menu (be it buffet/a la carte) on a regular basis, inspecting orders and effectively storing items basis the recommended temperature and away from humidity or moisture and ensuring FIFO system is in place. While it is difficult to eliminate food wastage completely, careful planning of menus, portion control while offering value for money and taking active steps for composting can help keep your spoilage out of landfill.

(The author is executive chef at Le Meridien Goa, Calangute)

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