Chew on this: American families chuck 25% of the food and beverages they buy. On average, that means $1,820 per household gets thrown away annually.
The U.S. isn’t alone. Around the globe, 1.3 billion tons of food gets tossed per year.
Those are just two eye-opening bites from the documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” out Oct. 13.
Produced by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and directed by Emmy Award winners Anna Chai and Nari Kye, the film seeks to change how people buy, cook and eat food.
“I don’t like the idea of being an advocate,” Bourdain says in the film. “But as a culinary student, as young cook, I came up in an old-school system that abhorred waste as a fundamental principle. The whole enterprise was based on the idea of use everything. That principle was pounded deep into my tissue.”
‘As a culinary student, as young cook, I came up in an old-school system that abhorred waste as a fundamental principle.’
Bourdain — author of the tangy tome “Kitchen Confidential” and host of the CNN series “Parts Unknown” — knows one film isn’t a cure-all.
But he considers it “a good day” if a few people start thinking about what they’re eating in a different way or think twice about what they’re throwing out.
“Wasted!” showcases chefs with smart and tasty solutions to this global problem. The Daily News asked three of them for tips that get you thinking about your excess food — and go down easy.
Restaurants: Babbo, Esca, among others
* Prep ingredients when you first bring them home, immediately after shopping. Chop carrots or wash lettuce, for example, so you’ll feel more inclined to cook for the week.
* Always know what you have in your refrigerator and make a grocery list while you’re still at home. Build a meal based on the produce that you already have.
Restaurant: Blue Hill
* Take inspiration from what’s left behind. Last night’s pot roast can be repurposed into today’s ragu. Stale bread becomes panzanella or panade. (How do you think chefs come up with daily specials?)
* Create an inventory of the ingredients in your fridge, organized by when they should be used. That’s what most restaurants do, and it helps to dictate the week’s menu.
Restaurant: Mission Chinese Food
* Manage leftovers. Living and working in a busy city like New York is quite hectic, and eating on the run often times means grabbing lunch on the go or ordering delivery once the day has come to an end. I repurpose leftovers for the next day, often times turning a small side of rice into a nutritional breakfast of fried rice for my son, or incorporate small amounts of protein into his lunch for the next day. Small amounts of leftovers are a perfect serving portion for a 3-year-old.
* Cook at home. We try to limit the amount of eating out in restaurants to once or twice a week. By cooking at home, we are more connected with the food we eat, and the quantities that we prepare.