Food waste? Not here. Meet the Indian chef who’s turning food scraps into gourmet bites

Many people today have relatively easy access to food, and in many societies there’s no shortage of it. And it’s this availability that Kumar believes has made some people seemingly less concerned about food waste. He feels his role lies in ensuring hotels at least adopt several steps to reduce food waste on the plate.

“In India, we have an affinity for abundance in everything,” says Kumar. “Nearly half of the food at lavish wedding receptions goes to waste. If we go to a [non-Asian] wedding in the US or UK, everything is portioned.” He suggests several measures at hotels, such as curtailing portion sizes, using smaller plates, interactive cooking [involving the guest in the preparing and ordering of food], or the option of customized, smaller portions to help reduce food waste on the plate.

Kumar also feels there’s been something of a sea change in the food and hospitality sector, which is the result of globalization, technological advances, lifestyle changes, increased disposable incomes, and the tourism boom. “Gen Z likes to spend more on themselves compared to previous generations,” says Kumar. “As India’s economy has opened up, and there are more opportunities for people to invest here and travel, the food and hospitality industry is going to grow even faster.”

However, what pains him the most is thinking of people who go to bed hungry which is why he has made giving leftover food to local charities part of his purpose, while leftover meat and bones are donated to animal shelters like Circle of Animal Lovers in South Delhi. “This is the beginning of my initiative and campaign against food waste,” says Kumar, “and I want to take it to the national level so that it becomes a guiding reference for future generations.”

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