Mobile Menu

Chef's Perspective: A Sweet Experiment in Zero Waste

Anywhere there is flavor and function you can guarantee that a food fanatic is going to find it, test it and utilize it in a sustainable way to make money for their organization.

In today's foodservice and food manufacturing landscape, cooks, chefs, food scientists and culinologists are tasked with reducing their own waste factors in their respected operations. They should also be laser-focused on monetizing food waste commercially, in delicious and innovative ways.

With an environment in flux, and food systems becoming more and more vulnerable, we are going to have to push ourselves to challenge both our personal and professional preferences and create delicious ideas with food waste that may have been.

One personal example is a revelation that I had when working with apples and bananas.

Zero-Waste SUPERSTAR: I Like to Eat, Eat, Eat Apples & Bananas


An elevated approach the endless bounds of “zero waste dishes” starts with a moist chunk of apple and banana cake topped a dollop of whipped cream, apple gelee all finished with a banana-walnut crumble topping.

Custom Culinary® Crème Anglaise
- and - Griffith Foods Gluten Free Green Banana Oatmeal Cookie Mix*

The Challenge

Create a net zero waste dessert for a Chef's Table we hosted in the Lombard Culinary Center.

Chef Richard Reilly and I composed a zero waste dessert utilizing Custom Culinary Cream Anglaise and Griffith Foods Gluten Free Green Banana Flour Cookie mix as the basis for a zero waste plated dessert for foodservice.


According to Datassential's Food Studio, this concept has strong appeal compared to other dessert concepts.A

most Loved: Bananas

83% of consumers love or like bananas, which can be found on 30.8% of U.S. restaurant menus.B

Food Waste concern

72% of consumers say they’re concerned about the issue of food waste and its effects on the environment.C


88% of consumers view zero-waste concepts as innovative.D

I identified 3 areas of the concept where I had to address waste that may end up by default in the bin.

  1. Egg shells: will end up in the compost
  2. Apple solids from the gelee: pureed and added into the cake as a flavor additive and tenderizer
  3. Banana peels: used as a plus one application in the crème anglaise.

Normally, banana peels end up in the un-usable trim pile bound for the compost heap. I wanted to challenge myself to coax flavor and function from the banana peels. I started by dehydrating the overripe bananapeels slowly at a very low temperature in the food dehydrator.

What resulted was a tropically fruity, chocolatey, ancho like flavor and aroma with light roasted under tones evocative of the aroma of saddle leather. One which wine aficionados will recognize instantly.

After dehydration, I placed the peels and granulated sugar into a food processor grind the peels down more finely. I was then able to utilize the aromatic and delicious grind as an ingredient in a textural and flavorful streusel topping for the dessert with butter, walnuts and more of the Griffith Foods Green Banana Flour Dry Mix.

In closing, this one small example of the intersection of creativity and sustainability has inspired me greatly to continue to follow my culinary curiosity while pushing my conventional thinking regarding food waste.

- Chef Michael Manno

Custom Culinary Flavor IQ
FlavorIQ® enables our customers' growth and success by approaching the creation of customized solutions with a bold mix of expertise, aspiration and curiosity. We develop unique products, menu concepts and "gold standard" flavor delivery systems, meeting the requirements of our customers today and anticipating their emerging needs, too. The opportunities we identify for operators and food manufacturers on a global scale are rooted in a deep understanding of the culinary arts, sensory science, consumer insights and food science. Our ultimate goal? Innovation without limits.
* Custom Culinary is part of the Griffith Foods family of companies.

A) Datassential, Food Studio, accessed 9/27/2022
B) Datassential MenuTrends, accessed 9/27/22. US Chain and Independent restaurants % that offer... 9/27/2022
C) Datassential, Sustainability Hot Shots Report, January 2021
D) Datassential, TIPS: Zero-Waste Concepts, August 2020