Chef Tips: Waste Not Want Not

Celery leaves and coffee grinds - two ingredients that definitely don't belong in the trash according to some local chefs. Photo by Ellie Shortt

Creative Uses for Kitchen By-products and Other Generally Discarded Ingredients


While we’ve come a long way from the days when every unused item made its way into our trashcans, there are still many opportunities for us to reduce our impact on the environment by limiting our refuse. In addition to composting, there are many oportunities to use the things you would usually toss, in creative culinary ways. Environmentally conscious, satisfying and increasingly trendy, many pros have been utilizing their kitchen by-products in innovative ways for many years. To help inspire you to achieve more mileage out of ingredients otherwise discarded, local chefs have shared tips for resourceful cooking.


Chef Thelma Yokohama, Brentwood Bay Seagrille and Pub:

Celery leaves are beautiful, soft, flavourful, and can be used for so much more than simply a salad garnish, or worse, a garnish to your garbage heap! In fact, Chef Yokohama insists that they make the best tempura, and are one of her favourite items on their menu due to their soft texture and delicate taste.


Brentwood Bay Seagrille and Pub: Verdier Ave Victoria, BC (888) 544-2079 


Chef Angelo Propseri-Porta, Cooper’s Cove Guesthouse and B&B:

At Cooper’s Cove Guesthouse and B&B, there’s a big demand for fresh squeezed juice. But rather than tossing remaining pulp, owner and chef Angelo Prosperi-Porta turns those remnants into the main attraction of his much loved breads. After cleaning away the seeds and inedible skins, he incorporates the pulp, seeds, molasses, and honey into a hearty mix for a chewy, dense and moist loaf that is jam-packed with interesting flavours and beneficial nutrients.


Cooper’s Cove Guesthouse and B&B: 5301 Sooke Rd Sooke, BC, (250) 642-5727


Chef Brad Holmes, Ulla Restaurant

Ulla Restaurant makes their own ricotta cheese, and instead of tossing the unused whey, chef and owner Brad Holmes turns the creamy leftover into a base for some of their seasonal soups. A favourite is English Pea Soup, which has a remarkable quality that doesn’t come from any regular stock. Now why wasn’t Little Miss Muffet as creative with her whey?


Ulla Restaurant: 509 Fisgard St Victoria, BC (250) 590-8795 


Chef Jason Nienaber, Point No Point Restaurant:

The executive chef at Point No Point also has a special stock, but instead of using leftover whey, Chef Nienaber uses prawn, crab and pea shells to create the rich flavour setting apart the good from the memorable. According to Chef Nienaber, ithe shell combination offers an umami flavour that is otherwise often hard to achieve.


Point No Point Restaurant: 10829 West Coast Rd Shirley, BC (250) 646-2020


Chef Michael Pagnacco, The Fairmont Empress Hotel:

Every morning many of us make our much-needed coffee and mindlessly toss the grinds into the trash, but at The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Executive Sous Chef Michael Pagnacco uses the staff’s caffeine-hit leftovers as insect repellent for their on-site herb garden. Not only does the acidity ward off unwanted pests, but the grinds are also packed with nutrients that help nourish and grow the plants that they protect.


The Fairmont Empress Hotel, 721 Government St Victoria, BC (250) 995-4650 




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