Interview with Zero-Waste Chef Anne Marie Bonneau
Today’s blog post is an interview with Anne-Marie Bonneau from San Francisco Bay Area who is a zero-waste chef, editor and a mother to two kids. Concerned with the planet’s plastic pollution problem, she went plastic-free in 2011, which led her to go zero-waste as a next logical step. In this interview I take you through her zero-waste adventures where she tells you how going zero-waste is not that difficult and how you can do it too!
My first question to you is – What do you mean by a zero-waste chef?
Anne-Marie Bonneau: I run my kitchen without producing waste. So I don’t buy anything in packaging. That means I don’t eat any processed food. (All the processed stuff comes packaged in plastic.) And I don’t waste any food. Another thing, I’m not actually a trained chef. I like to point out to people that anyone can do what I do. You don’t need special training to cook your dinner.
I see. The way you define zero-waste chef, that’s a pretty high standard to live by given the busy and rapid lives we live, don’t you think? Someone like me who’s just beginning to understand something like this must feel awe.
Anne-Marie Bonneau: Well I always tell people I’m not perfect. If you aim for perfection, you might give up. You can start out small. My older daughter and I started all of this when we decided to go plastic-free. That took several months as we adopted new habits like shopping at the farmer’s market with reusable cloth produce bags and making more things from scratch. And actually, I think zero-waste is easier than people think. Unless you’re a huge consumer, you probably produce most of your waste in the kitchen—packaging and food. So I cook food from scratch but I don’t cook anything very difficult. I buy staples at the bulk bins and produce from the farmer’s market. My intention when I started all of this was to cut the plastic but I inadvertently cleaned up my diet as well. I’m much healthier now as a result. All the bad food is processed. If you cut the processed food, you cut a big part of your waste.