Checking the Can

Waste not, want not. Periodically spot checking your garbage cans is not a pleasant task; but an essential one.

Sometimes valuables get canned, and its our job to correct careless practices before they spread.

One thing I’ve learned in my years as a chef is that when you look deep within the can (garbage can) there is a good chance you will find that your money is being thrown out. In most cases items such as cutlery, ramekins, excess trim from food production and even culinary utensils are fed to the can by accident. Unfortunately there are also times when items are tossed due to negligence and lack of caring, or just being “to busy to pick it out”. In any case its our job as owners, operators, chefs & managers to spot check the can from time to time to be sure our money is not being canned.

This is not to say that you need to glove up (Nitrile gloves of course) and rummage through trash every day, but is to say that we need to be aware of what’s in the can we walk by; a visual spot check if you will. If you see non perishable items on the top then a continued dig for additional treasure is up to you. If you see excess food production trim then that too needs to be addressed; excess beef trim, seafood trim, chicken trim or even vegetable trim can become a wasteful and costly practice that should be evaluated and addressed. I’m not suggesting that food which has already hit the can should be picked out, but it could be used as an example for training and to set expectations with your staff.

Items to look out for:

  • Ramekins
  • Cutlery
  • Culinary utensils; tongs, spatulas, whisks…..etc
  • Excess beef trim the could be used for steak sandwiches or tips
  • Excess chicken scraps that could be used for chicken stock or ground for chicken sliders
  • Excess trim from vegetables that could be used for stocks or a roasted vegetable bisque

May your life and stomach always be full,
Chef Tim

Follow Chef Tim on Twitter @chefdifference

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