Ven­tur­ing be­yond a mostly fad­dish fer­vour for nose-to-tail din­ing, to­day’s hottest chefs prove why zero-waste cook­ing is pos­i­tively sexy

T. Dining by Singapore Tatler - - Savour Feast -

In an in­dus­try no­to­ri­ous for food wastage, calls for zero waste and a re­newed zeal for sus­tain­able prac­tices have in­spired a new gen­er­a­tion of the is­land’s most tal­ented and in­vested culi­nary stars to get cre­ative. Be­sides com­post­ing un­used veg­etable trim­mings, in­de­pen­dent restau­rants like Morsels at Dempsey con­tin­u­ously work to re­duce waste and car­bon foot­print by sourc­ing lo­cally and grow­ing what lit­tle they can. “We grow some of the herbs and micro greens we use; af­ter we trim them, I try to con­tinue grow­ing them and so far, we’ve been suc­cess­ful with rock chives and red vein sor­rel,” shares chef-owner Pet­rina Loh, who cham­pi­ons zero waste and sus­tain­abil­ity af­ter hav­ing lived in San Fran­cisco for seven years. “I’ve even re­planted kangkong and Chi­nese cel­ery.” For use as ed­i­ble gar­nishes or to add tex­ture to a dish, Loh also makes crisps with fish skins—which she lightly salts then de­hy­drates at 65 de­grees C—and left­over tomatoes. The lat­ter is tomato scrap that has been passed through a chi­nois to make gaz­pa­cho. She mixes it with tapi­oca flour (a ra­tio of 4:1) and dries it.

An­other way to get the most out of a prized veg­etable can be found in the kitchen of Si­cil­ian restau­rant Gat­topardo, where chef-owner Lino Sauro pairs shav­ings of sea­sonal white as­para­gus with tagli­atelle, which he ex­plains re­sem­bles the said pasta, in a sim­ple dish sea­soned with gar­lic.

While there are still fine din­ing es­tab­lish­ments that in­sist on only se­lected cuts like chicken wings to make a more flavour­ful stock, there are oth­ers who turn to shells of pricey crus­taceans or cooked bones for added umami and deeper flavours. Chef Sauro, for ex­am­ple, uses the heads of the Si­cil­ian red prawns to make a car­bonara cream sauce by com­bin­ing them with olive oil, but­ter and onion. “Red prawns are great to work with as they’re a very ver­sa­tile in­gre­di­ent and don’t have an overly fishy taste,” he adds.

Even poul­try as small as a pi­geon from Brit­tany has much to give. Bones are used to make an ac­com­pa­ny­ing sauce, while the heart and liver goes into the mak­ing of a par­fait. Suf­fice it to say, chefs like Rishi Naleen­dra of Miche­lin-starred Cheek By Jowl make no bones about be­ing more in­tu­itive in find­ing new ways to make the most of an in­gre­di­ent. It has led him to a new way of us­ing the bones of the mack­erel—not to flavour a stock but as a crust for a dish of cured mack­erel fil­let. He cures the bones of the fish, then roast them to make a crum­ble that is used to coat the fish.

Call it in­ge­nious, we think it’s sim­ply gor­geous.

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