Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash
The statistics for global food waste are eye-watering. Tonnes (around 1.3 billion a year) of edible food goes to waste daily – but how? Food is the only waste we can actually eat!
Whether you are docked nearby to a supermarket or stocking up for long crossings. As yacht crew, you are also contributing to this problem. And unfortunately, usually more than the average household. You only have to glance out at the dock at 5 pm to see how many bin bags are being carried through the marina- to the (hopefully) relevant bins to recognise how much waste superyachts create.
When it comes to food waste, there are many easy hacks within our control to help waste a little less and become more sustainable in the galley. So chefs, listen up – this is your time to shine that sustainability torch because we are giving you…
The Top 10 Ways Superyacht Chefs can be More Sustainable Onboard:
1. Planning is Key.
As with everything in life, planning helps. And, when it comes to the galley it helps a lot. You need to have a plan for the week when it comes to provisioning and menus. That way you will know what you need to buy and what needs using up first. Planning menus which rotate stock well is also important. For example, if you won’t be able to get to a shop for a few days obviously those bags of salad need to be used before the butternut squashes.
2. Recycling isn’t Just for the Crew Mess.
It sounds like an easy one. But, if the galley isn’t next to or nearby the crew mess where the recycling bins are, then sometimes the rest of the boat can forget. Especially when it comes to the galley. Think about all those jars, cardboard packaging and (unfortunately) plastic packaging which can and should be recycled. If you struggle with space in the galley, create a small box where you can gather things up. Then you can drop them off at the main bins throughout the day.
3. Inventive Leftovers.
No one likes ‘leftover’ day. Sometimes, if chefs serve up leftovers this can cause some tension. Other crew may question ‘what else were they doing?’ and no, the galley doesn’t have self-cleaning surfaces and equipment! Leftovers can be easily hidden and reinvented. It’s a great way to unleash your chef creativity. For example, throw an egg and some soy sauce in that leftover veggie couscous from lunch, and you have some Asian fried rice hidden amongst tomorrow nights Asian buffet.
4. Get Personal.
Crew can be complicated creatures, creatures of habit and creatures of constant change. So, knowing what they like and dislike can be difficult to grasp. And let’s not even start on the guests… So as you would for guests, make a crew preference sheet and get everyone to fill it out or even do it the old fashion way and talk to everyone! Get to know preferences and that all-important spice level. Then, plan accordingly. Within a busy period, chefs tend to grab and go but try to sit down at least a few times a week with everyone to gauge what people like. And, it’s also useful for a portion size guide.
5. Respect the Seasons.
Choose local and seasonal where you can. Not only will it taste better but it is better for the yachts carbon footprint. It will also foster easy variety within your menus. Although yachts don’t tend to have the easiest of growing environments, why not try out a herb windowsill in the galley or mess. This is one of the core ways superyacht chefs can be more sustainable!
6. Manage All the Waste.
A mentioned food is the waste category that can be eaten. Whilst it is tough to have a completely empty galley bin, why not try out some of these ideas:
- Add fruit peels to drinking water
- Make smoothies from bruised or ‘on the turn’ fruit or chop them up and freeze
- Make juices from excess vegetables
- Save up the ‘wastage’ from prep to make stocks and freeze
- Freeze anything that won’t or can’t be used in time
7. Greener Galleys.
Green cleaning isn’t only for the interior. When stocking your cleaning cupboard in the galley ensure that you have minimal and eco-friendly products. There are so many great products out there now – plus the faithful alcohol and vinegar. As for other products, go as green as you can – say goodbye to cling film and replace it with beeswax paper and stasher bags to maximise freshness and utilise existing storage containers for things.
8. Make Vegetable the Main Player.
This doesn’t mean a drastic move to turn all the crew vegan, but it doesn’t hurt to focus on the vegetables. There is so much creativity out there now surrounding plant-based food. From reliable informative sources to media frenzies and fake news- there is a lot of content at the moment about what is truly sustainable when it comes to our diets. It is hard to know what is right but moving towards reducing meat in our diets, sourcing sustainable seafood and focussing on plant-based should give you a good sustainable start. Have a read of Superyacht Content’s most recent article, Plant-Based Chefs you need to be following for recipe inspiration.
9. Make it Last.
Whether or not you are in a marina, making food last longer is easily more sustainable. There are so many easy ways to increase the longevity of food. For example- pickling, fermenting, correct storage and temperature control of fridge and freezers. If you still find you have an excess in something then look outside, toward the local community and give to food banks where you can.
10. Use Responsible Suppliers.
When using provisioning companies and agents, ask questions. Check to see where they are sourcing their products, look for ingredient certification and ensure the packaging isn’t just plastic upon plastic. There are a lot of companies out there now highlighting their sustainability efforts so ask them what it is that they are doing.