Interview with Pamela Salzman on Going Food Waste-LESS


As a chef and holistic health counselor, what inspires you to go Food Waste-LESS in the kitchen?

Food waste is a global problem.  Approximately 40% of food purchased is thrown away, ending up in our landfills which has negative implications for the environment.  What hurts the environment ultimately hurts us.  Furthermore, many people complain that buying and eating healthy foods is too expensive.  However, by being strategic about our food purchases and eliminating waste, it is most likely less expensive to cook whole foods from scratch. 

I love all of the delicious, wholesome, and nutritious recipes on your website.  How do you come up with so many ideas to use all of the food in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry? 

Recipes are just formulas and roadmaps.  They are meant to be tweaked and adapted (unless you're baking - in which case you have to have some idea about what you're doing.)  There are certain types of recipes (like soups, salads, grain bowls, pastas and frittatas) that really lend themselves to flexibility.   

Can you tell us a little more about your cookbook, Kitchen Matters?  Do you focus on Going Food Waste-LESS in your new book? 

My book Kitchen Matters is an extension of my in-person and online cooking classes.  It's a collection of my students' favorite recipes, the tips that created the most AH-HA moments in class, and a tome that supports an anti-inflammatory way of cooking and eating.  The book is not just about recipes and cooking though.  It also helps the reader set his/her kitchen up for a successful and enjoyable cooking experience.  My next book will have more tips for efficiently using the pantry and freezer, as well as transforming any leftovers into something delicious. 

What are some simple tips that us novice chefs can do in the kitchen to help Go Food Waste-LESS?

  • Write out a menu of meals (especially dinners) for the week ahead so that you are more likely to commit to cooking.  

  • Look to see what you have in your freezer, pantry and fridge and see if you can incorporate those ingredients into recipes before deciding on recipes.  

  • Label anything that goes into the freezer with both the name and date of the item.

  • Save washed vegetable scraps (e.g. carrot peels, asparagus bottoms, leek tops, mushroom stems) in a bag in the freezer to make vegetable stock down the road.

  • Almost any leftover (lasagne, enchiladas, casseroles, roasted veggies, grains) can be turned into a soup by pouring enough stock over it and reheating it.

  • Many items can be frozen if you don't think you'll use them before they spoil - cooked grains and legumes, steamed vegetables, stock and soups, and coconut milk, for exmaple.

  • There are also foods that people often throw out not realizing they are edible, like beet greens, radish, turnip and carrots tops.

Where can we find more Food Waste-LESS recipes from you?

I have lots of ideas on my website, in my cookbook "Kitchen Matters," and in my online classes . You can also follow me on Instagram @pamelasalzman where I often share Food Waste-LESS tips.