FOOD HABITS

Renowned Italian chef Geraci advocates for zero waste cooking

He said sustainably and mindful living could be a step in solving climate change

In Summary

• Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts, which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future. 

• Italian cuisine, in particular, stands out as one of the most popular and celebrated examples of the Mediterranean diet in the world.

Renowned Italian Chef Giuseppe adds cooking cream to a blender during a masterclass with top chefs in Nairobi.
ZERO WASTE: Renowned Italian Chef Giuseppe adds cooking cream to a blender during a masterclass with top chefs in Nairobi.
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

Renowned Italian chef Giuseppe Geraci believes living sustainably is the answer to climate change.

The chef who held a masterclass with top chefs in Nairobi this week said apart from making delicious and tasty cuisines, he is especially motivated to promote zero waste in cooking.

Geraci says Italian cuisines are curated with sustainability in mind.

He says one dish can be incorporated into another, no no food is wasted.

"For example, if you have stale bread, you could sun or oven dry it and use it as bread crumbs," Geraci said.

“Sustainability is a priority for us, and it is common knowledge that everyday actions can make a difference when it comes to protecting the environment.”

Renowned Italian Chef Giuseppe Geraci with the Star health and food Journalist Margaret Wanjiru at Capital Club restaurant on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
SUSTAINABILITY: Renowned Italian Chef Giuseppe Geraci with the Star health and food Journalist Margaret Wanjiru at Capital Club restaurant on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
Image: Handout

Geraci said Italians are more protective about food because it's a great part of their culture and identity.

“It's tied more to our regions, town, and villages than to our country,” he said.

Italian cuisine, in particular, stands out as one of the most popular and celebrated examples of the Mediterranean diet in the world.

The Mediterranean diet topped as the best diet overall in the annual best diet rankings for the fifth consecutive year.

There are several studies that have associated the Mediterranean diet with a longer life.

Last year, a comprehensive literature review conducted by Italian researchers on an overall population of more than 4,000,000 showed that a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of death by eight per cent.

Renowned Italian Chef Giuseppe Geraci
LONG LIFE: Renowned Italian Chef Giuseppe Geraci

Geraci says, it is built on double attention:

He says, Italians have exceptional knowledge passed down through generations that must respect nature and biodiversity.

This, he says entails craftsmanship, training, and touch of Italian “joy of life.”

“In our tradition, high quality and unique ingredients are wisely harmonised into centuries -old recipes, still followed by generations of artisans across the whole country," Geraci said.

"Therefore, our modern food industry is characterised by a great balance of scientific research, education and technological innovation combined with food and process certification, appropriate labelling and up to date normative.”

Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts, which contribute to food and nutrition security and to a healthy life for present and future. 

SUSTAINABILITY

  1. Waste less food

“One of the simplest thing you can do is practice mindful eating. Resize your meal accordingly.  Do not serve too much and end up throwing away food,” Geraci says.

“You can turn your hunger signals, and make them adapt that you do not need as much food as you thought.”

Geraci believes most foods can be repurposed, and this is not hard to do, it just takes practice.

  1. Prioritise plants

During his masterclass on Thursday with local top chefs in Nairobi, most of the cuisines prepared were plant based.

Geraci says many Italians choose a plant-based diet due to their personal philosophy of life, health choices and out of respect for animals.

“Our diet is mostly plant-based, it is rich in pulses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables,” he said.

“Italians enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, tomatoes, whole grains, dairy, red wine and they eat very little red meat.”

  1. Repurpose food

Geraci said governments must recognise that achieving a sustainable economy will require innovation to transition to a circular economy, which, in the context of food usage, seeks to reduce the amount of wastage.

“Discarded food, for example, does not need to end up in landfills—it can be utilised for other purposes,” he said.

“I believe if humans begin to live sustainably and mindfully, that could be a step in solving climate change.”

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