Our green kitchen: reduce, reuse, recycle

Last year a green revolution was quietly taking place in Ascham’s kitchen and dining room. With 130 boarders to feed, as well as staff, and catering for over 400 events a year, our kitchen is a very busy place. Head of Catering Brendan Hunt and his team produce a staggering 5,600 meals per week! Doing this with a environmental conscience is now more imperative than ever.

Here, Brendan tells us what is in store for 2020 and beyond…

The Ascham Catering team is highly focused on its environmental impact. So much so that this year each team member has been assigned ownership of improvement in a particular operational area. The team has brainstormed their ideas, worked out their strategies and embedded procedures to ensure their group objectives are achieved.

On top of all the work we did in 2019 to remove single-use plastics, use biodegradable packaging, source fresh, organic, local produce and reduce food miles and carbon emissions, we’ve been making even more green moves in 2020. Just some of our new initiatives include:

• Reducing single-use packaging even further, eg: toasted sandwiches are no longer served from the Grab & Go on a paper plate

• Daily assessment of water usage to ensure it is only being used as necessary in the kitchen, eg: cutlery and crockery is soaked in bulk in tubs of water rather than individual rinsing

• Rinsing all used plastic, glass and tin containers and placing them in recycling bins with the lids off, to ensure they are recycled properly at the processing plant

• Conscientious use of electrical energy and weather observation, eg: our Dining Room strip lighting gets turned off when the sun is shining, and windows are opened to capture cross breezes instead of using the air conditioning.

In the short term, the team is looking at the viability of a composting program, where all food scraps and single-use biodegradable containers/cups get turned into compost, which would then be returned to farmers.

In the long term, the Catering team is working towards creating a zero waste operation, with the aspiration of a kitchen with no rubbish bins at all.

Big goals. A greener future. Let’s do it together!

Photo: Head Chef Dean Boyd prepping fresh produce for our boarders


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