Westfield: How did the television show come about?
Gamoran: I was teaching a cooking class at Sur La Table and noticed how full all of the students’ trash bowls were. As a chef I was taught to use every last scrap in our restaurants in order to maximize profit. I thought, “No one has ever inspired home cooks to cook with their scraps so they can save money as well!” I took the idea for the show to my friend Tim Whitney (Executive Producer) and Katie Couric (Executive Producer). We pitched the show for two-and-a-half years before we found a home on A+E Networks!
Westfield: Tell us more about the show.
Gamoran: 40% of the food we buy at the grocery store gets trashed—meaning it spoils or goes unused. The premise of the show is to combat that! I travel across the country in my mobile VW 1963 kitchen/van, inspiring locals to cook with ingredients they would normally throw away. Think carrot tops, chicken bones, and onion peels.
Westfield: Why is it important to use kitchen scraps?
Gamoran: Three main reasons: It saves you money by cooking the most out of what you have! An example is one lobster costs $20, which is one very expensive meal, but if you were to use the shells of that lobster in a soup or risotto, now you have two meals for the price of one. It saves flavor! Do you know what cilantro stems taste like or strawberry tops? They have their own set of flavors that can seriously up your cooking game. It saves the world. 20% of our landfills are food waste! We can massively affect our planet in a positive way if we can stop throwing food down the trash.
Westfield: What is your favorite food scrap to cook with?
Gamoran: Stale bread. It seems so simple, but makes the best sauces, bread pudding, and of course, bread crumbs. Stale bread is what I call a gateway scrap!
Westfield: What are your five top tips for cooking with scraps?
Gamoran: Buy a blender, I love the KitchenAid Pro Line Blender. Blending can really unlock the possibilities of scraps. Be open-minded. Get ready to eat new flavors and parts of ingredients you are not used to! Experiment. Try something new. If it doesn’t work, it was going to be trash anyway. Love your freezer. Sometimes you don’t have time to deal with your scraps. Use your freezer to organize your thoughts and save scraps for another day.