Connecting the kitchen

Energy and water are the main issues hotel groups take into consideration when adopting sustainable practices. However, one of the biggest opportunities is often neglected with huge environmental and financial impact: food waste. This month  we travelled to the UAE to meet with Dwayne Thomas Krisko, Executive Chef at the Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre & Residences who has used Winnow to cut waste and costs.

While food waste has been generating attention internationally, it presents a huge challenge especially to countries that have seen a sudden growth in the hotel and catering sector. A good example of this is the booming hospitality market in the UAE and Dubai in particular.

Tourism has helped Dubai become the fifth-highest performing metropolitan economy in the world. The city offers exciting shopping and entertainment opportunities as well as great venues for meetings or conventions. Yet over a year, 365,000 tonnes of food is discarded in Dubai and there is an enormous savings potential for the hospitality sector in addressing the issue.

The team at Winnow are on a mission to help the hospitality industry cut down on food waste by ‘connecting the kitchen’. “Our technology consistently cuts food waste in half by automatically measuring what gets thrown away and providing data to help chefs reduce overproduction,” says Marc Zornes, Winnow Co-Founder.

One of the first hotels to adopt Winnow’s technology in the region is the Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre & Residences. The contemporary 5-star hotel, located in Deira, Dubai’s heritage hub, is a beautiful hotel with over 300 elegant rooms and an event space. Its restaurants and bars serve world class food tailored to foreign travellers and local customers alike.

The hotel places environmental and social responsibility at the top of their list of priorities and by implementing food waste prevention strategies they work towards AccorHotels’ Planet 21 initiative. As part of the initiative the hotel chain is aiming to reduce food waste by 30% before the year 2020 across their entire portfolio of hotel brands.

Using Winnow’s reporting, the hotel has been able to dramatically reduce waste (over 5 tonnes annually) which has led to a 4% reduction in food purchasing costs. We asked the hotel’s Executive Chef, Dwayne Thomas Krisko to share some insight into his culinary origins and how Winnow’s technology helped him work towards less food waste in his kitchen.

What inspired you to become a Chef?

Cooking has always been my passion and it was something I enjoyed doing at home with my family. So when the opportunity raised I accepted it with a great enthusiasm and made it my career.

Where and how were you trained?

I studied at the Culinary School in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in the USA. After graduating, I travelled around the US and Europe where I worked with some of the top chefs of the time.

What challenges did you face when you decided you wanted to cut waste from your kitchen?

One of the main challenges was to pass the trend of the new mentality around food waste on my staff. We had to shift the team’s thinking on the consequences of their actions and to make the right decisions on the produce process. It has resulted in optimised workflow and of course, less food waste.

How does Winnow help you in your daily operation?

First of all, food is too valuable to be wasted. Winnow is a great tool which Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre uses to monitor our daily making and waste. Also, having the system in my kitchen helps me plan a better control production, which automatically means significant cost reductions as we are saving US$400 weekly on food cost.

What initiatives have you implemented based on the data from Winnow’s reporting?

Reports provide us a very clear picture that highlight where changes could be made. It’s easy to plan and it is a bet for us to how low can we get the waste. It is also a great opportunity as well since we can use those savings to purchase better products.

How do you think technology will have an impact upon how customers engage with the stories of the food, the chef, and the restaurant?

It is a subject that affects everyone as we all feel guilty about the mounds of food likely to go waste. With Winnow’s technology we have the opportunity to engage our customers to the whole story and become involved with the operation. We are exposing this effort through our Pullman social media platforms and website – giving as much information as possible for the people who is interested in to found out exactly what is that we are doing and what is the goal.

How do you see your kitchen develop towards a more sustainable operation in the future?

With the advancement of technological tools and social recognition of waste, our goal at Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre is to optimise usage and achieve zero waste. We will all need to make smaller portions, use sustainable products and minimise when possible; that will achieve major cost control and essential loss of food.

If you could give just one piece of advice to chefs on how to tackle food waste, what would it be?

I would advise every young chef to be transparent and make wastage a positive issue and give constructive re-enforcement to the staff so people will respect the issue and pay more attention to how to waste less.

 

Winnow is on a mission to solve the problem for restaurants on a global scale. They are already live in 18 countries and are saving to their clients millions. They encourage operators to come on board and look strategically at food waste reduction for clear economic as well as environmental reasons. With the right tools, you can dramatically cut waste, saving costs and improving your offer at the same time.