While composting has grown into quite a common practice within the past few years, people are still tossing away scraps, and Chef Joel Gamoran has no idea why. In a new culinary series on FYI Network, the Sur La Table chef and Culinary Institute of America alumnus takes on a mission to travel the country, utilizing typically discarded food waste and scraps to craft unexpected comestible delights.
Scraps, produced by Katie Couric, first aired on May 21, and this Sunday, Gamoran is headed for the Hudson Valley for the next episode to make a jaw-dropping feast from stale bread, bruised apples, and carrot tops alongside The Nourishing Vegan’s Jenné Claiborne.
Claiborne herself is a personal chef and health coach, so we got Gamoran on the line to get the inside scoop on what the two will be concocting for the coming June 4 episode. Check out our conversation below, and tune into FYI on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. to watch Gamoran in action.
The Hudson Valley is known for a growing agricultural and culinary scene, but what drew you to the area?
When choosing locations for the show we wanted to choose places we felt shared similar qualities to the Scraps we were cooking—under-appreciated, sometimes overlooked, yet immaculate!
I was up in Beacon with my wife, spending some time driving around and I was taken back by how stunning the region is. There are some super talented people in the food world doing really interesting stuff in the Hudson Valley.
No one talks about the Hudson Valley enough! It’s one of the most incredible areas in the country, in my humble opinion.
Our region has hundreds of talented chefs and nutritionists. Why team up with health blogger Jenné Claiborne?
I was floored by her outlook on plant based cooking. Jenné is vegan, which is a lifestyle she stands for. With her blog, YouTube, and social following, she has built an incredibly inspired and engaged community.
Jenné has an incredible way of connecting to home cooks and with Scraps, our goal is to speak to home cooks about being less wasteful.
The scraps you will be utilizing in the coming episode, can you tell us why you chose them?
We called almost every single food lover in the Hudson Valley — from Ruth Reichl to Colu Henry. We wanted to understand the region from their eyes. What’s growing? What do people eat? What makes Hudson valley different? We showed up in late winter, so it was all about stale bread from Bonfigilio Bakery, carrot stems, kale ribs, and bruised storage apples.
A decent amount of the menu is planned before we shoot, but a good amount is made up on the fly when we start shooting. You will have to check the episode, but each one of these ingredients took on a total transformation.
Did any of your experiences from the CIA influence you to participate in this show?
The CIA is where I gained a foundation for cooking Scraps. My chef instructors would push us to look at every vegetable, every cut of meat and byproduct as something with value. In the food biz, if you are throwing away ingredients, you are throwing away potential profit. CIA reinforced that good chefs figure out how to use tomato skins, chicken necks and bruised fruits.
What is your motivation for showing people how to cook with food typically thought of as “waste”?
There are three main things that motivate this movement for me. First, this is going to save people tons of money and with one out of eight people in America saying they go to bed hungry, we should not be wasting any edible food. However, almost half the food we buy hits the trash. Second, food waste makes up 20% of our landfills. That’s insane! As all those usable ingredients sit, methane gas is created which results in global warming.
Lastly, it’s genuinely going to make people better cooks. These are new flavors, textures and concepts that will inspire people to get in the kitchen and cook from scratch, which is my main goal in life. Inspire the world to cook!