Blog: Zero Waste on food

Zero Waste

Wasting food and everything associated with it is a real shame and a questionable practice. Chef de cuisine Remco Jansen from Coperto Restobar in Zwolle couldn’t agree more. Yet it’s not always easy to buy the right amount and only prepare what is needed. And it’s not always possible to influence things like packaging and distribution. Fortunately, they’ve already been taking all this into account for some time at Coperto Restobar. So that there is as little food left over as possible and that it’s processed in a responsible way. “We’re aiming for zero waste at Coperto.”


Remco’s golden tip is to keep the logistics lines as short as possible and to have clear agreements with suppliers. “For example, we use a lot of vegetables from De Huppe care farm in Zwolle,” explains Remco. “I literally go there with a crate and choose the vegetables I need. No extra plastic, no unnecessary waste and it’s nearby so there is no unnecessary mileage.” When the vegetable is then prepared, it’s usually used in its entirety. “For example, if we make a dish with celeriac, we use these as vegetables, make a cream from the trimmings and use the peels in broths and gravy. The same applies to the peels of onions, carrots and the tops of leeks and other varieties of allium vegetables.” This means that no food is wasted. “We also use broccoli stems and the stalks, which we process as raw crisps.” Strangely enough, these taste like mushrooms. It would be a real shame not to use them. The tops and leaves of various vegetables are also used to garnish the plates.” Like the leaves of palm cabbage, rocket or, for example, fennel. The same goes for fish. It’s a mistake to think that only part of the fish is usable. “In principle, we use a lot more of the fish than just the fillet.” We often also use the trimmings, fish eggs, tongue and cheeks and we also use some parts to make a delicious and full-flavoured broth as a basis for our soups and sauces,” Remco explains. “We often use the entire fish – from head to tail.”


The breakfast served daily at Pillows Grand Hotel ter Borch also contributes to waste reduction. It may sound a bit crazy, but presenting breakfast in buffet form creates a lot of waste. In an early stage we take into consideration what may be left over in the end. Or in our case, could be left over. “Providing table service during breakfast instead of having a buffet helps us. Of course it’s nicer for our guests because they can stay seated and enjoy our service, and it also gives us the option to serve customized portions without compromising on the selection.”


Providing table service during breakfast is one of the reasons why almost no bread is discarded in the hotel and in Coperto Restobar. “Our staff also benefit, since both lunch and dinner regularly consist of leftover products from these meals. It may sound disrespectful but, given the quality of our products, it’s certainly not a punishment.”


We also direct and instruct all of our suppliers on the use of packaging material and transport. “We prefer to get our products without any packaging.” Vegetables wrapped in unnecessary plastic is a good example of this. “I prefer not to receive any packaging or separately packaged goods, which is unnecessary material,” says Remco. “I also take my own packaging to De Huppe and put all the vegetables, herbs and dairy in it – straight from the land.” Unfortunately you can’t completely avoid receiving some packaged products. This is because of hygiene legislation and because otherwise the shelf life may be affected. “However, we do separate and recycle any packaging material that we receive.”


The collaboration with De Huppe care farm was mentioned earlier in this blog but there’s more to it than just buying their products. Although products are used as much as possible in their entirety, some leftovers remain. “The less usable parts and trimmings of the plants remain with the care farm. The pigs love it,” Remco smiles. Naturally, the farm also has a compost heap. Remains of garden waste and plant remnants can be turned into compost and used on the soil. “This completes the circle.”


At Coperto Restobar we like to think about sustainability and we deal with food in an honest and delicious way. Do you want to experience the dishes prepared by Remco Jansen and his brigade? Be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner. Book a table and we look forward to seeing you.