I Turned Garbage Into A 3 Course Meal | With Mi | Refinery29

November 10, 2019 0 By William Morgan


Wooaahhhhhh.
Mmm.
In New York City, food waste comprises
roughly 30% of the waste stream.
A handful of New York restaurants have tasked
themselves with rethinking waste.
One of these restaurants is Olmsted.
I’m off to Brooklyn today to meet the chef
and owner of Olmsted, Greg Baxtrom.
And he’s gonna teach me how to incorporate
what would easily be considered garbage into
a three course meal.
Let’s go!
We’re gonna be making a fun three course
menu incorporating
some items that would be food waste
and turning them into delicious meals.
Correct.
First we’re gonna kinda do a typical kale
salad.
Start picking the kale.
So, tell me about the creation of
Olmsted.
You’ve worked at a ton of amazing restaurants.
What has all of that taught you?
I didn’t necessarily want to be cooking
that food anymore.
We try to be playful and fun and do things
that people haven’t maybe seen before.
But we try to do it with combinations of flavors
that everyone already knows in a sustainable way.
Here we have the big living wall that has wheatgrass
growing on it for wheatgrass shots.
We have birds and we have fish.
Here, you want another knife?
Chef knife!
Roughly chop?
Yeah.
Season it with some olive oil.
Some salt.
A bunch of pepper.
A zest of lemon.
And then we’ll juice the lemon.
And then we’re just gonna massage it in.
So that’ll make what is normally a tough green not as tough.
These are the stems from the last time we
picked kale.
We chop it up, and we mix it with a little
bit of garlic and onion.
Put three percent salt water over it, which
also has acid in it.
That will help sort of tenderize the kale.
The greens?
Yeah.
Massage and put the lemon in?
Just start squeezing and I’ll massage
it for you.
Cool.
Let’s talk about how you deal with waste
here at Olmsted.
We’re a very seasonal restaurant.
The menu changes a lot.
We’re faced with new food waste every time.
We have to be creative on the spot.
It’s an ever growing process of self-correct
and evolve.
So when we clean the tub, we drain the tub,
we spray that water over the garden.
Every time we clean the tub, we try to reuse
our gray water and everything.
So this is like a very simple salad.
It has all the crunch from the kale and the stems.
Cover the crap out of it with a lot of parmesan.
The best part.
We make a lot of brioche here.
But we save all of the end pieces.
And then just blitz it in a blender?
Yeah.
We blitz it in a food processor and we turn
that into bread crumbs.
And that’s it.
And there’s zero waste.
I’m excited.
This is really good.
I really want to make this stuff.
It’s shockingly easy.
I’m excited for round two which
is the falafel.
Peas and carrots.
Yeah.
Carrot pulp that’s been dried out.
Red lentils.
Parsley and mint.
Onions.
Garlic.
Cumin and Madras curry powder.
Wheat bran.
And baking soda.
Mix it all, and then we’re gonna run it
through the meat grinder.
Super simple.
That’s nice.
No cutting.
Can I do it in a food processor?
Yeah, you definitely can.
The wheat bran and the baking soda kind of
aerate it so it’s not so dense.
It smells so good.
Great.
This goes like that.
And that goes like that.
Woooaaaahhhh.
I’m so excited for this one.
Ice cream scooper.
Any size that you prefer.
It takes a little bit longer to fry than you think.
It takes four or five minutes.
Obviously you’re in New York.
Space is limited.
Yeah.
A lot of people would probably nix
having that.
You have a huge space and half of it is dedicated
to your garden.
Yeah.
Why was that important?
We’re in the era where it’s more about
providing nice things for our guests.
I’m not the guy that is the first person
at the farmer’s market, that gets all the
things that no one else has.
We like to use tomatoes and asparagus and
present it in a way that maybe is unfamiliar but is still delicious.
We try to accommodate as many allergies as
we can,
we try to support as many small businesses and small farms as we can.
That was a good salt shot.
Take our pea shoots.
Hit this with a lemon dressing that we make.
These are grown outside in the greenhouse
right now.
We make our own ranch dressing.
Anything that’s got yogurt in it is what
I would go with.
Yum!
Dish two, done.
Order up!
Mmmm.
So good.
Ranch dressing doesn’t hurt.
Ranch is my favorite dressing.
Mmmm.
Should we make the squash bread?
Yeah.
Mmmm.
It’s so good!
For the last course, we have a squash
bread.
We serve it with a clotted cream and a jam.
Right now, it’s a Harbison clotted cream.
It’s wrapped in spruce and it has a rind
and everything.
So when we have leftover, you just pour cream
over it.
Normally clotted cream is just cream that’s
put into a low oven overnight and then there’s
a separation.
Some of the cream caramelizes.
You let that chill and you scoop it out.
It’s super good.
We take the spruce, the wood that’s wrapped
around it.
The rind and everything else just gets blended
together.
This is the untraditional way of doing it.
That way we have a total yielded product so
that way there’s no waste.
And then we whip it almost like whipped cream.
This is the spruce right here.
This is the branch.
That’s the wheels.
This is the product after you’ve
put in your mixture.
This is twelve hours later, yeah.
Twelve hours in the oven at 180.
180.
We add one percent salt for flavor and to
preserve it.
And then once it’s actually cold, we blend
it in the mixer.
Oh.
That’s what we’re gonna do next.
This part is just up to whatever your preference
is.
We just whip it until just right around whipped
cream.
Once we have this, we really just simply serve
it.
Right now it’s butternut squash.
We do it with summer squash.
We do it with honeynut.
Sort of any dense squash.
A dollop of the clotted cream.
This jam…
So we have a couple of rules that we
follow.
Everything is made within every three days.
But just because we have that rule doesn’t
mean we should start throwing everything away.
So after service, if it’s two days old,
any bar juices get frozen.
We save the husks.
We blanch them five times in cold water.
And then we take that juice that’s in the
freezer, the lemon and lime juice, orange
juice, whatever it is.
We mix that with the rinds that we’ve run
through the meat grinder.
Cover it with some sugar and we cook it for
a couple of hours and it turns it into…
Honestly, it almost tastes like Sprite.
This would go in the trash normally.
But it’s nice and bright.
Look at that.
Spread it however you want.
Does it not taste kind of like Sprite a
little bit?
It does taste just like…
Now that you mention it.
The cream does have a lot of flavor though.
The jam changes all the time.
When we don’t have this one, like right now it
would be strawberry rhubarb because it’s spring.
Yum!
To cap it off, why do you think it’s important
for people to be rethinking their food and
their waste, kind of reimagining what that
is?
It’s important just for the obvious
reason in that there’s no reason to just
throw something that’s completely edible
away.
But to sort of highlight that on the menu…
So we do that for the dinner menu, the brunch
menu, and across the street.
Just to show that it doesn’t have to be
anything lesser just because it was an ingredient
that you originally didn’t think to use.
Thank you so much for showing me
all this.
I feel like I can do this.
Thanks for coming.
Thanks so much for watching, guys.
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Bye!