Where most people would see cauliflower leaves and the tops of carrots as garbage, Bruce Kalman sees ingredients to actual meals.
The chef of Union in Pasadena uses these ingredients, along with other produce items that many would simply throw away, in juices, sauces and garnishes.
So instead of creating compost, Kalman creates summer sorbet using fennel stalks and adds a textural element to salads using cauliflower stalks. He told Mashable:
“We have a responsibility as chefs to make food that people want to eat, but also that’s sustainable. Cooking this way has really opened my mind up creatively, and is making me look at these wasted foods in a different way.”
So not only is Kalman saving money and helping the environment by not wasting ingredients, he is also forcing himself to create unique and interesting dishes.
There are plenty of restaurants where people can go to get food made with fresh ingredients. But there aren’t as many places that use all parts of their produce in dishes.
That type of creativity and the unique nature of the dishes could just be enough to draw in some curious or adventurous diners. And of course, those who are interested in environmental issues could also like the idea of dining at a restaurant that doesn’t create much food waste in its process.
But while those aspects are certainly helpful, they won’t necessarily lead to long term success. Restaurants don’t usually survive on gimmicks that just get people through the door. If Kalman wants Union to thrive long term, he’ll have to ensure that the meals are satisfactory in terms of both taste and quality.
But for a chef who enjoys the challenge of creating unique dishes out of items that most would throw away, creating enjoyable meals should be relatively easy.