Fine dining chef gains profit in ‘kitchen scraps’
You know the saying goes ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. This couldn’t be any more true for a fine dining chef named Tim Ma when he realized he could use kitchen scraps with his culinary creations.
Right now, Ma aims to fight food waste and earn more by making the most out of the ingredients they use.
“Food waste and food cost are everyday money things, we’re still learning every day how to be smarter about it. We always look at something and think, oh, I don’t want to throw that away. How can I use that in something? And I’d say seven out of 10 times, you can’t use that. And the other times, you have to get really creative,” he said in an interview.
In Kyirisan — Ma’s popular Washington based restaurant — culinary creativity is evident as they try to use every edible part of an ingredient. For instance, when sea bass filets are served to diners, the bones become the basis for stocks while the heads might be deep fried and served as an off-menu item.
And then when carron tops are blended with sautéed garlic, oil, water, basil, parsley, pistachios and scallions to make a creamy pesto, its peels are recycled by chopping them into thin strips then fried into a crunchy garnish.
Tough kale stalks might also be braised, then fried for more texture and tossed into a salad with pickled shallots, radishes and duck confit.
The engineer turned chef shared that he learned how to be thrifty the hard way when the first restaurant he put up back 2009 nearly closed down a few months after opening.
This encouraged him to find more creative ways to spend efficiently.
He said: Food prices are rising, but the amount that chefs can charge diners for a plate has stayed the same.
“I don’t go above $30, but there are a lot of dishes here that cost a lot more [to produce] than a $30 dish should,” Ma said.
Among the changes he also implemented is buying local. He would sought out local purveyors who would sell him just the amounts he needed instead of buying ingredients in bulk from large distributors with required minimum orders which obliged him to order a whole case, even if half might end up going to waste.