Zero Waste Chef Talks Food, Going Plastic-Free And More!
Having followed Anne-Marie Bonneau’s work on Instagram for a while (@zerowastechef), we were quite intrigued by her application of zero waste ideology into her kitchen. So we asked her a couple of questions and she was more than willing to grant us all some much-needed knowledge. KS: Starting with your Instagram bio, you follow three rules in your kitchen- No packaging, nothing processed and no trash. What exactly triggered this movement in for you? AM: Even before I applied this rule in my kitchen, I wasn’t a big consumer. I don’t need a lot of stuff to get started. We realized that most of our trash came from the kitchen and decided to start from there. KS: Cooking a regular meal requires a lot of planning. How do you, as a zero waste chef, manage to plan your everyday meals? AM: I think the key is not to cook something new every single day. First of all, I look at what I have on hand before I go shopping for new ingredients. Usually, I come up with unexpected meals or inventions with what’s leftover! I shop only once a week, plan out a couple of meals and consume one particular meal for three days or so. KS: Going plastic free is a great thing and no one is going to argue with that. We want to know the real side of it. What were the most common struggles you faced in your quest to go plastic free? AM: In 2011, we read up about plastic and plastic pollution and decided to take that step to go plastic-free. It took us months to get started! When we would go shopping we’d face so many issues and our choices became less because most of the stuff came in plastic containers. It was definitely a challenge and did not happen overnight. I would advise you, to start small- for example, bringing cloth bags whenever you got out shopping. Don’t try to be perfect, because no one is. Small, significant steps are the way to go! KS: You ferment a lot of your food. Can you please talk more about it and the benefits of it? AM: Oh, fermented food tastes amazing! Fermentation really brings out strong flavors. All the good things in life are fermented- cheese, beer, wine etc. Our mood, our weight and health are all gut dependent. When you eat fermented food, it improves the gut bacteria and is in general, more nutritious. KS: Could you share some of your easiest zero-waste food to make for an easy midnight snack? AM: Popcorn! We buy popcorn in bulk and cook it in a pot on the stove and add in some coconut oil and salt. Even hummus, which is easy to make, can be eaten with bread. KS: At Karmic Seed we are really passionate about waste products all our products are considered agro waste products that would typically be burned. We love that you are also promoting a zero waste kitchen lifestyle that eliminates waste in the kitchen. Any suggestions on how businesses can function when it comes to sustainability and fair environmental practice? AM: I think companies should create their products in such a way that they shouldn’t put the onus on the consumer to clean up afterwards. They should use better alternatives than synthetics. For example, hemp. It is easy and quick to grow and is way cheaper. It was banned before, due to corporate interests but has not been legalized again. KS: We would like to know some quick tips to make use of the agro-waste from our kitchen! AM: You could use leftover vegetables to make vegetable broth. Apple peels can be used to make vinegar instead of buying store-bought vinegar bottles. Also, cream with cultured milk can be used to make sour cream. KS: Finally, how has going zero waste affected your life? AM: I am much healthier now as I eat real, wholesome food that I’ve cooked myself. I feel much happier as I don’t see a downside to being this way. It's fun, it's important and I enjoy it! The food tastes better and now that I don’t go very often to shop for stuff, I have time to do other things I enjoy as well! KS: Thank you so much, Anne-Marie, for sharing your wisdom and giving us your time! AM: I’m glad and happy to! Check out our other interviews, here.