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British chef Douglas McMaster celebrates ten years of converting to “zero waste” gastronomy

British chef Douglas McMaster celebrates ten years of converting to

It is an audacious who proves that it is possible since this year he celebrates his ten years of successful conversion to “zero waste” gastronomy. Douglas McMaster, 34, is the gifted type. At 21, he won the BBC cooking competition, the next year he was voted England’s best young chef, the next he opened an establishment in Australia.

In 2012, at age 24, he decided to stop producing any waste. This is what he says at length every day The Independent : today, in his restaurant in London, 90% of what goes into the kitchen ends up on the plates of customers or staff, the remaining 10% are either transformed into compost (food scraps) or recycled (the glass of the bottles)… By way of comparison, in the majority of restaurants, 50% of the food is cooked, 50% thrown away.

The key, explains Douglas McMaster, it was to progress in the art of transforming fish bones into broth, carrot tops into sauce and leftover cream into dulce de leche. The challenge is not to throw anything away“. And it starts with the source, with the way of obtaining the food.

No packaging, no cardboard, no plastic: Douglas McMaster only buys from small farms located 30 kilometers from his restaurant, he brings his own containers, crates, barrels, which he reuses every time. Once in the kitchen, everything is used, from mushroom stems to carrot peelings. And finally, at the table, the gourmet menu obliges, in general the plate leaves empty. But if something remains there, there is compost.

Result: in ten years, Douglas McMaster has gone from 60 kilos of waste per day to 20 kilos per week. So, yes, it is possible, “But not for everyone, he acknowledges, zero waste at home is almost impossible. We can pick up all of our produce from the farm, but most people can’t avoid all-plastic at the supermarket, nor can they have a composter..

Douglas McMaster lectures no one. For the curious, he gives anti-waste cooking classes, and has published a book on his approach. “But it’s not a question of an individual, he concludes, it’s the whole supply chain that needs to be reviewed, trying at the scale of a village, then a city, then of a country, and why not of the planet.

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