Well actually, there's 4 new F-words; Food, Farming, Fishing and Famine. With global warming and increasing food costs, the food economy and world isn't what it used to be. Famine, for example, is a much bigger threat than most people realise. A report from the European Commission revealed that "...up to 153.3 million people of the analysed population will experience high levels of acute food insecurity in 2023". However, there is so much that the food industry can do to prevent food waste and in turn, help to reduce famine. In this blog, we're going to talk about how we strive to avoid food waste and use the most of the ingredients we use. We'll also talk about how pastry itself prevents food waste and how traditional techniques allow pastry chefs to reuse certain ingredients to reduce food waste.
NO WASTE SINCE 1995
Ever since we opened our doors 28 years ago, we have never wasted food. For all of these years, we would either donate our food at the end of the day to organisations such as The Union Gospel Mission and to food banks. We would also handout extras to our neighbours, both our business neighbours and our home neighbours. We'd also give leftovers to our staff, who would leave the bakery with whatever pastries they wanted to take.
Then, about 5 years ago, we learned about Vancouver Food Runners. They are a local organisation that will come whenever to pick up any food you would like to donate and they distribute to several charities across Vancouver. Not only do their actions help our community, but they also help our environment; most food runner collectors commute via bicycle! They are a wonderful team of hard-working volunteers that work with multiple food businesses in Vancouver. We've been with Food Runners for several years and at around July every year, they send us a graphic summarising our mid-year impact. This is how we did this year:
At Patisserie Lebeau, we use local ingredients as much as we can because British Columbia has so much wonderful produce to offer. That's why when we have leftovers, we want to give back locally. Food Runners allows us to achieve that sustainability and let us take care of three new F-words: Food, Famine and Farming. It's almost like a circle of sustainability; we start locally, use locally and give back locally.
PLANNED PRODUCTION - WE ALWAYS PLAN TO REDUCE OUR FOOD WASTE
We never waste food and we don't like to waste food. That is why we've practised planned production since opening day. Every day, we plan to make a certain amount of pastries based on business of the day, pre-orders and popularity of items. Not only does it help us to organise ourselves for big orders and ease our production process but it also allows for us to not overproduce. That way, we don't produce and bake 40 croissants, only to sell 10 and waste 30. It is why we urge our customers to place larger orders ahead of time; that way there's enough for everyone! Planned production helps us to optimise the production process, we make the best use of everything, and basically, we avoid waste!
THE TRADITIONAL PASTRY TECHNIQUES
It may come as a surprise but a lot of your favourite pastry treats may be not only good for your taste buds, but also for reducing food waste. Bakeries don't like to waste food; that's how we got cake pops, banana bread, croutons, double-baked almond croissants, bread pudding... the list goes on!
Cake pops, also called rumballs, were traditionally made with leftover cakes and rum. Ripened and overly ripened bananas were traditionally used to make moist banana bread. Old, stale bread was used to make croutons or bread pudding. Even some trendy items like double-baked almond croissants were derived from trying to prevent food waste. Candied fruits, like candied oranges, are made from the peels of the fruit. Fruit confits use the whole fruit and turns it into candy. Vanilla pods are put into sugar to flavour it and dried tomato skin is used to flavour salt. These techniques merely scratch the surface of how pasty and bakeries constantly strive to not only reduce food waste by using leftover pastries but by using ALL of the ingredient.
OCEANWISE- PREVENTING OVERFISHING
While there's not a whole we can talk about overfishing, there is someone else we would like to feature instead. A good friend of ours, Robert Clark, co-founded 'Ocean Wise', which tackles one of the f-words; fishing. Ocean Wise is a wonderful program that works to protect BC salmon, vital to our ecosystem, encourage small scale fishery practices and the Ocean Wise label on BC seafood allows consumers to know what seafood has been sustainably sourced. You can read more about the wonderful work of Ocean Wise here. Thanks Robert for all that you do!
What are your thoughts on the f-words? Is there more to be done? Let us know in the comments?
See you next time!