Sunnyvale zero waste chef explains how to cook, shop and eat better in 2022


Determined to reduce waste, save money, and eat more delicious food?

You need a local model. Someone who makes it easy and won’t rack up the eco-guilt even if you forget to save your apple peels every now and then.

Enter Anne-Marie Bonneau from Sunnyvale, aka Le Chef Zero Waste. Bonneau is the home cook of fabric and sourdough shopping bag sewing with nearly 200,000 Instagram followers and a timely new guide to updating your resolutions.

“The Zero Waste Chef: Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Cooking and a Sustainable Planet” (Avery; $ 25), based on Bonneau’s popular blog of the same name, is more than a cookbook. It’s a lifestyle guide. Yes, it offers 75 tasty vegan and vegetarian recipes for cooking with leftovers and creating fermented staples like ricotta and tepache, a sparkling pineapple drink. But Bonneau ends each recipe ends with tips on how to use your ingredients over and over again.

(Nhat V. Meyer / Bay Area News Group)

“You can make a second batch of tepache using the same pineapple peels,” says Bonneau, who lived for 15 years in an intentional community in Mountain View. “And throw in the vinegar for a third brew. “

Even non-fermenters will appreciate the simple suggestions – save the kale stems for soup; spill a plate on the leftovers instead of using plastic wrap – and the sensible approach to cooking, use what you already have, which is more like how our grannies used to do in free mode.

“A lot of people think they have to start from scratch and create something new every night,” says Bonneau. She partially blames the cooking shows for this. “They elevated (cooking) to a kind of extreme sport. It shouldn’t be that way.

American food waste shouldn’t either, which is a sobering starting point. Every day, the average American generates 4½ pounds of garbage, including almost a pound of food. (The rest is made from materials we briefly used, like food packaging; more on that soon). We waste more food at home than in grocery stores or restaurants. And globally, food waste accounts for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. To put that in perspective, the aviation industry generates 2.5 percent.

But don’t be panicked by zero, says Bonneau. Not everyone can put their annual trash in a mason jar. “It’s just a name, a goal,” she says, like striving for an A in every grade. In this case, adopt the mantra “Cs obtains degrees”. Bonneau crunched the numbers and confirmed: “Whoever does a little bit has the most impact.”

It’s your New Year’s resolution. To reduce your food waste and plastic use by 10 percent. And this cookbook tells you how to do it, with chapters on building sustainable kitchens, like “You Can Make That? Staples and scraps. Turn that zucchini half, insulated carrot and handful of herbs into tasty pancakes to eat all your veggies. Save these apple peels for making apple cider vinegar. And for citrus lovers, don’t just squeeze and throw in a lime or lime. Zest first.

“During the (winter) season, I get a hint of guilt,” says Bonneau. “Fortunately, it freezes wonderfully and you can use it later in a lot of things like quick breads, dressings and soups. “

Freezing is his mantra. Bonneau’s Freezer is a rainbow of stacked Mason jars filled with everything from late-season fruits and baked beans to beaten eggs and crackers made with sourdough sourdough. In “Make Mains, Not Waste” learn how to use the whole vegetable, with dishes like pasta and frugal fennel frond pesto (some farmers market vendors give fennel stems and fronds) and chowder. corn on the cob even using the bristles and husks to make the broth.

Bonneau’s eco-trip began in 2011 after reading about the devastating effects of plastic pollution on our oceans and their inhabitants. (At the rate we’re going, the oceans will contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, Following plastic than fish). She wanted to cut the plastic immediately, but the weaning actually took several months. She started making her own snacks instead of buying packaged snacks and brought glass containers to restaurants for leftovers.

She even brings them when making take-out meals.

“A lot of places are happy to do this,” Bonneau says, but admits that she “has been doing this for 10 years and still feels a little embarrassed to come in with my own containers”.

To standardize it, Bonneau recently launched a local project, Silicon Valley Reduces, to help connect businesses with customers who choose to reuse. A sticker in the store window declares them as a safe space for reusers. There are nine companies on the list, including Ada’s Cafe in Palo Alto and China Wok in Sunnyvale. But it’s growing. Bonneau Fans in Fremont, San Diego, Washington, DC and Ithaca, NY are starting programs in the New Year.

Think about it, you could too.

January virtual events

Meet Anne-Marie Bonneau and learn more at these January virtual library events:

Make soup, not waste: Bring whatever veg you have on hand along with basic cooking supplies and other ingredients to this live cooking workshop. No two jars will be the same! 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on January 25. Registration required. Register at

Zero waste starts in the kitchen: Join Bonneau for a discussion on how reducing your waste not only benefits the planet, but also satisfies your taste buds, improves your health, and saves money. 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on January 29. Registration required. Register at


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