Restaurant turns tables on food waste, turning unused portions into short-turn dishes

Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

A restaurant in Toronto is trying to not throw out unused ingredients.

Farmhouse Tavern takes biscuits that were baked but never served into croutons for salads for the evening rush.

Chef Ashley MacNeil is trying to make sure the refrigerator is empty by closing time and all half-drunk bottles of wine are tapped out. It's all in an effort to reduce thrown unused food for the three days they're closed, NPR reported.

Darcy MacDonnell, the owner of the tavern, came up with the idea to not have anything left over after the weekend, especially when his prices are not cheap and the food is premium local fare.

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"Freshness is omnipotent," and putting foods in the fridge and closing up already-uncorked wine bottles are not allowed at MacDonnell's business, he told NPR.

He has a “colorful” name for the Sunday night promotion that plays on what many workers think about the dreaded Monday start of the work week.

Appetizers and main dishes are offered at about half price, as are glasses of wine poured from already-opened bottles as the night goes on, NPR reported.

Because there are limited number of servings of both food and drink, the Farmhouse uses a chalkboard that regulars watch closely. When something’s gone, it is gone and is crossed out. As the night goes on, more items are crossed off, forcing diners to change their minds.

"We started to see the good stuff was going away, so we ordered quickly" Tara Veysey told NPR.

Restaurants, on average, contribute to 13% food waste in Canada that could be avoided. In the U.S., the number is higher -- 18%, or $25 billion a year.

As for what's left after the restaurant closes for the night, the staff finish off the bottles of wine, and other items, like shaved Brussels sprouts left over after a recent night, will be preserved. Biscuits that had a second life as croutons could be turned into breadcrumbs, NPR reported.

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