By Eddie Tan
Ever heard of the term ‘Green Cuisine’? The internet describes it as vegetarian cooking, or cooking healthily via the organic way.
However, there’s more to Green Cuisine. It also focuses on environmentally-friendly cooking techniques and methods and not just the cuisine that helps to sustain the food system. HELP CAT’s Centre for Culinary Entrepreneurship (CCE) aims to do just that by incorporating green elements into our curriculum.
As a culinary educator, what exactly should be our role?
How can our students prepare themselves to be the future generation’s ‘green chefs’?
It may not be enough to simply discuss greener cooking practices. The greening of our young cooks starts today by equipping the training facilities with environmentally-friendly materials or design wherever possible, such as putting into practice actions and decisions that constantly reminds them to reduce, reuse and recycle.
With this in mind, CCE has invested in kitchens with environmentally- friendly equipment to incorporate the important philosophy of ‘green cuisine’.
This is evident in the materials used, choice of equipment brands and patent designed grease interceptors. With these basics and real-life practices in our students’ daily training and learning, we hope to influence our young chefs to explore ways to green their cuisine in the future. In line with our aims to create chefs with thinking skills, our green practices add another paradigm to the students’ learning process in nurturing them towards being culinary professionals.
Chefs and cooks should start re-thinking their menus and ways to produce dishes that not only sustain business practices but also the environment.
LOCALISING the ingredients used in menus whenever possible will lessen the carbon footprint by saving on transportation and storage energy. Chefs can research food resources that are under-utilised versus over-utilised ingredients such as tuna and cod fish. Overfishing of certain species of fish has led to their extinction.
As part of their learning process, CCE students are involved in discovering localised ingredient substitutes for their French menu without compromising on essential French cooking techniques. Students may undergo different phases of exercises such as looking into menus offered by current restaurants and hotels; analysing the percentage of imported versus local ingredients and exploring the possibilities of alternative substitutes via visits to home-grown suppliers.
Another aspect of Green Cuisine that CCE students will learn is the use of CHEMICAL-FREE FOOD HYGIENE SYSTEMS. Chemicals that are harmful to the environment should be avoided whenever and wherever possible.
In the olden days, cooks used to blanch their kitchen towels in boiling water to clean and sanitise. In a modern twist to chemical-free cleaning, CCE students utilise the latest cleaning technology, such as steam sanitizers and pressurized floor-cleaning tools to sterialise the kitchens.
After all, who says that business and the environment cannot co-exist? To make this dream a reality, HELP CAT’s CCE has taken the first step to spark interest in green cooking.
Eddie Tan Kean Buan is a Program Coordinator & Chef Lecturer at the HELP University.Eddie’s career took off after he obtained the prestigious Certificatd’AptitudeProfessionelle (CAP) specialising in French Cuisine. He has since travelled the world, working in various sectors of the food industry. He has accumulated 15 years of industrial experience and 8 years of teaching experience. Focusing his research on culinary education, the award-winning chef hopes to contribute to improvements in the learning environment of the younger generation, particularly those planning to enter food-related industries.