Culinary takes bite out of waste


Rosaura Montes

Chicken fettuccine dish is one of the many dishes whose prices were raised about 50 cents because of the money spent on biodegradable carry-out products. The culinary department will spend $1,000 more each year to purchase the biodegradable products.

Rosaura Montes and Rosaura Montes

The Culinary Arts department has made a change that will impact the way food will be contained when being handed out.

Chef instructor Amanda Aiton made it possible for Culinary Arts to use sustainable biodegradable products instead of plastic foam to distribute food at the Culinary Arts Cafe.

As a fan of going green, Aiton noted that, “A lot of restaurants are following this trend of going green.

“Students are able to see the changes that the Culinary department is doing.”

Being the program assistant, Aiton is now more aware “of my culinary environment.”

Aiton is glad that the biodegradable products are being used because these products will not take thousands of years to decompose. She explained, “It takes more than thousands of years for plastic foam to decompose.

“For us to be able to be aware of our environment, we are using products that are biodegradable.”

Art major Joanna Gutierrez is pleased that the switch has been made. “Of course, I think it’s a great idea.”

By switching plastic foam products such as to-go containers, cups and anything else that is made up by extruded polystyrene foam, it is costing the department an estimation of more than $1,000 each year.

“We’re a profit generating program,” Chef Instructor Michael Pierini said. “It costs us a lot more money but it’s worth it for us to do it.” The switch was made official this semester and has been a work in progress since last semester.

With the use of biodegradable products, the dishes are 25 to 50 cents more. “It’s a better product but paying more for it,” Aiton said.

With the switch now made, Pierini made clear that, “It’s an appropriate time [to do this]. The rest of the departments and programs on campus should start thinking the way we are.” Students are already becoming aware of the changes being made at the cafe.

Gutierrez mentioned that she understands the fact that the Culinary Arts department is switching to biodegradable products.

“I work with a lot of art supplies that are not biodegradable, as oppose to working with plastic pens, I use pencils more often.”

She reflects that the chances are a positive reflection of how society is changing its ways to be more earth friendly.

“Anything that the facilities are doing to be earth friendly is a good thing,” Gutierrez said.