December 5, 2019

Power Knot Teams with NOCHI to Foster Sustainable Food Waste Management with Budding Chefs

“The foodservice industry is notorious for creating food waste, which is typically collected with trash and sent to landfills. Power Knot has provided a great opportunity for us to start a very important dialogue with our students about the importance of managing both waste in general and food waste in particular.”

— Leah Sarris, NOCHI Executive Director

The article was originally published in Waste Advantage.

Power Knot, a market leader in products that process waste food in commercial foodservice operations, is introducing an aspiring generation of chefs to the benefits of sustainable waste food disposal through its partnership with the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI). To embrace a low-carbon future, NOCHI students now have a Power Knot LFC biodigester capable of processing all waste food onsite, and thereby diverting it from the landfill where it would contribute to greenhouse gases.

NOCHI’s five-story, 90,000 sq. ft. facility is a unique combination of old construction dating back to the 1920s and newer construction from the 2000s, all of which was renovated for NOCHI’s unique operations as a culinary school. The state-of-the-art facilities include teaching kitchens, a dining lab, a sensory testing lab, production kitchen, and classroom spaces. NOCHI has the capacity to serve up to 500 students per year across various programs and hosts thousands at events and in the NOCHI Café.

“As a culinary school, we aim to be at the forefront of both innovation and sustainability, and we are excited to provide our students with exposure to a waste food digester throughout their training,” said NOCHI Executive Director Leah Sarris. “The foodservice industry is notorious for creating food waste, which is typically collected with trash and sent to landfills. Power Knot has provided a great opportunity for us to start a very important dialogue with our students about the importance of managing both waste in general and food waste in particular. The digester has proven to be a wonderful resource as we train the next generation of culinary talent and innovation.”

The LFC biodigester ensures NOCHI students have access to the latest kitchen equipment. It processes on average roughly 200 pounds of waste daily. This volume of organic waste in a landfill would generate harmful methane (a greenhouse gas with 84 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide). Since its installation, the LFC biodigester has processed over 8 tons of food waste, representing a reduction in emissions of 34 tonnes of CO2e.

As part of its commitment to minimizing waste, NOCHI is orchestrating a waste study in all departments across the school. “Our goal is to find areas where waste is occurring, streamline procurement, and create recipes to reduce waste whenever possible. We are always aligning our classes to cross-promote usage between different programs,” said Sarris. “We moved the Baking & Pastry Arts breads class to align with the Culinary Arts class that focuses on sandwich-making so the Culinary Arts students can utilize the bread that is being made in-house. We are also working to align our private events and catering programs with class production to reduce waste of products made in class. Additionally, we are focusing on increased utilization of our rooftop gardens to grow herbs that will reduce packaging waste associated with purchasing from a vendor.”

“We are delighted to partner with NOCHI and play a part in developing sustainable waste management practices for future chefs,” said Iain Milnes, president of Power Knot. “In addition to quietly and safely disposing of food waste, the LFC biodigester will help NOCHI’s students understand their waste volumes, design dishes that minimize waste, and even control the supply side by helping to optimize ordering patterns.”