No waste mentality means discards get a second chance

Apr 2, 2016 by Chef Mary Beth LawtonJohnson

You have trimmings left over from vegetables, meats, pastry or dough after working on a meal or fabricating a meat for dinner. So what do you do with them? Technically, these would be considered stock options if you save them or the dough could be wrapped back up and thrown into the freezer or refrigerator.

But those discards can be turned into delicious soups, appetizers and even main courses. What was once thought of as trimmings or waste, now reverts back to no waste onboard and use what you have.

We can’t carry an endless supply of anything onboard due to small, tight spaces. So you need to rethink what you can do to save even more space and money for the yacht, especially if it is a charter yacht that depends on a tight food budget to make charter tips.

Here’s some examples of creative use of your leftovers:

* Orange peels can be used in grating to line a margarita glass, candied or used for garnish such as a twist or to infuse flavor while marinating or cooking.

* Meat discards can be used in soups, stocks, and for appetizers. Simply cut the meat trimmings down into smaller pieces and encase them in a simple pastry sheet or dough or create a bun for them. You can also use them for stuffing in wontons for an Asian inspired approach. Pair it with a sauce, and you have an appetizer.

*Meat trimmings can be added to stuffing if they are chopped or ground to incorporate them into the large meal, or to flavor the larger meal from which it came. Or, take some of the meat and stuff it into a jalapeno then wrap that in bacon and you have an easy appetizer.

*Save all meat bones if they are not going to be served, and definitely use them for stock or to flavor a sauce. If they are marrow bones, clean them up and roast for the marrow or serve them as a main course.

*Carrots and other vegetable trimmings can be used for garnish or for and stews and stocks such as a vegetable stock. They can even be carved into for further decoration for the plate. Consider frying tomato skins or dry them and then crush them into a powder to add more flavor profile. I never peel potatoes because of the vitamins found in their skins.

*If you cut oranges in half and scoop out the center, you can use the cup-shaped peel to hold sorbet and nothing goes to waste.

*Take stale bread, wrap it in aluminum foil, brush it with milk or water and reheat it. It will soften the bread for another use or you can cut it up and toss with butter, herbs and some oil. Then bake it off for bread crumbs or croutons. Soak it in milk and use it in meatballs or meatloaf.

*Those shrimp peels can be dried out and pulverized in a food processor and used for extra flavor on the dish as well. Or use them to make a stock. Lobster shells are used to make lobster stock or you can also use them to stuff the lobster tail or in a lobster salad. Just make sure they are fully cooked prior to using them this way.

*Another idea would be to use the vegetable trimmings as a sauce for the final plate or even the meat that is trimmed turned into a meat sauce for pasta.

The taboo of years past is the new way to save money for the yacht and owner and add a new flavor profile in the process.

We simply can’t carry everything in the world with us when the yacht leaves port so, in order to conserve the trips to the store in a foreign port where the prices are probably high, simply cut back on waste and stop throwing away the trimmings. Your garbage cans will thank you, and the purser’s strings will thank you. Now, that extra savings can be put toward a crew night out or a larger tip.

Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years. Contact her through


About Chef Mary Beth LawtonJohnson

Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years.

View all posts by Chef Mary Beth LawtonJohnson →