Bon Appetit at Mills’ Founders Commons recently signed a plan that would donate excess food that incorporates new initiatives for more sustainable ways to deal with food waste.
The program, Chefs to End Hunger (CTEH), was initiated in November. Its goal is to provide meals to the hungry by redistributing the excess food that would normally go to waste in places like hotels, restaurants and other food service operations to local food agencies to serve the meal. CTEH sends aluminum boxes to Founders who will fill it up with extra prepared foods like rice and meats. The boxes are then picked up by Founder’s produce delivery company, SF speciality. SF speciality then delivers them to local food banks.
General manager of Founders Chrystal Chun Wong explains the process Founders has for donating food to CTEH.
“Maybe we’ll have one or two extra pans of rice, maybe some meat, or something like that. We package those up and put them in a designated area of our fridge, so they come [the delivery company] and drop off the produce in our fridge near the loading dock and so they just know to check that spot every morning” Chun Wong said. “That way we’re spreading that excess food to other people.”
Since all of the food they give away is still fresh, they also re-purpose food between donating to CTEH to cut down on food waste, Chun Wong explained.
“We don’t do it all the time because we have opportunities to reuse food,” Chun Wong said.
Founders uses waste logs to track how much food they’re producing and have in excess at the end of the day so they can make the right amount of food and reduce waste. They normally make 100-150 servings of food at Founders and 50-60 at the Tea Shop,
Chun Wong said.
“We cook in small batches so we’re cooking throughout the entire meal periods. A lot of times towards the end, it kind of slows down,” Chun Wong said. “We have a steady head count of what we’re creating.”
In addition to CTEH and repurposing food, Founders has listened to students in responses to cut down food waste. Nicole Gaetjens explained the student initiative to reduce food waste on campus.
“In 2009, by a student initiative, Founders introduced tray-less dining which greatly reduced water usage,” Gaetjens said. “And the use also greatly reduced food waste as well.”
Bon Appetit Management Company recently received the Acterra award for sustainability, a very prestigious environmental recognition in the Bay Area.