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Food Waste Action Week 2021 mouldy planet icons

Food Services & Catering

In the war on food waste, let’s learn to love our leftovers

We all know that climate change is a real and pressing threat to our planet. But are we doing enough to look at how our own daily actions might be feeding this crisis? Our culinary ambassador, David Mulcahy, shares his tips on fighting food waste.

Picture of David MulcahyThrowing out food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, yet 70% of food that is wasted, post farm gate, is from our homes. 

As a chef, I find that statistic astonishing, and I am passionate about helping people learn to love their leftovers and to think a bit more creatively about what can be done with the fruit and veg in our fridges – they might look a bit tired, but there’s so much that can be done to turn them into a delicious meal or snack. 

Re-imagine your leftovers

Cooking with leftovers can provide you with the most inventive moment you have as a cook.

Don’t assume that eating the same food you had last night needs to be boring or second rate - in fact things can be quite the opposite.

Try this:

The humble curry and rice from the evening, given a second life and a creative twist, can become the perfect spiced lunchtime wrap.  

  • Mix your leftover curry with cooked rice, which thickens the sauce and makes for a great hand-held result. Take a tortilla wrap of choice, fill it with your leftovers then create a tight roll, sealing the wrap with beaten egg.  
  • Heat a frying pan on a low heat with a little rapeseed oil. Brush the egg all over the outside of the wrap. Gently heat the wrap in the pan. The egg forms a light crust, giving texture and bite to the soft wrap. 
  • Cut in half, serve with pickle, chutney, yoghurt to really savour the flavour. 

You can also use your leftovers in a Spanish tortilla – quicker than a quiche and great for a whole host of cooked foods to avoid waste.  

Rules in using leftovers

  • Keep your leftovers fresh, repurpose and have fun 
  • Put into a new dish, presentation goes a long way!
  • Never use leftovers twice
  • Take care with raw egg (mayo) products

Picture of spices

Be food-saving savvy

Often, reducing food waste is about knowing what you’ve already got in the fridge and cupboards, and thinking beyond your usual repertoire of meals. 

Stocktake your cupboards – have a good look through your cupboards so that you don’t buy more than you need. Found some hidden spices you’d forgotten about? These can help add life to leftovers.

Review your fridge - check out forgotten jars that have been opened. If in date, get the horseradish into a salad dressing dressing and elevate the long-forgotten tahini to accompany a quick stir fry. 

Breathe a little life into salads - If you have lettuces that are starting to wilt, you can still use them – just focus on the dressings and relishes to maximise the flavour. 

Eat the rainbow - shave, grate, slice or spiralise a whole host of roots and shoots from multicolour carrots, celeriac, courgettes, red onions, fennel, radishes and so much more to create a bowl of joy. And remember to use as much of the veg as you can – there is often no need to peel them, as the skin can be full of fibre and nutrients.  

Have fun with soups - soups are for all seasons. Leftover veg from roast dinners can quickly be made into a tasty vegetable soup. Then bring your leftover soup to life with wholemeal scones or mature cheddar croutons.  

Picture of vegetable soup with bread

Hail the toastie - from cheese with chutneys or relishes to whatever creation takes your fancy, use up what’s at your fingertips to make a delicious toastie.

Are you watching your fruit bowl turn a little tired? Try a fruit bowl bake. Grab some apples, plums and bananas. Cut into chunks. And mix a little oatmeal, chopped nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, and mix with a little butter to make a chunky crumble. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or ice cream. 

Download our recipes using some commonly-wasted ingredients, and check out the video below of our executive chef, Ben Dutson, showing you how to make potato gnocchi with carrot top pesto. 


Sodexo is a proud strategic partner to WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which is shining a light on the impact of food waste on our planet during the first ever Food Waste Action Week taking place between 1 to 7 March 2021

February 26, 2021

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