4 Ways To Minimize Your Food Waste This Thanksgiving

Creating a beautiful Thanksgiving table that’s both tasty and environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be difficult. We spoke with Chef Ben Grebel, ICC Chef-Instructor of 6 years and one of our Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-to-Table program coordinators to learn how he eliminates food waste and makes his Thanksgiving table more sustainable.

Below, get his tips for using all of your scraps, fats and bones to create a delicious meal while minimizing food waste!


Breaking down your turkey should be the first step in creating your Thanksgiving meal. Chef Ben recommends removing the turkey breasts and legs from the carcass and setting these aside. Then, break down the actual carcass and roast the bones in the oven—if the turkey neck is inside of the turkey, this can be roasted as well.

By roasting the carcass, you will be bringing out layers of flavor and using this to create a stock. This will make it so that you won’t have to make a separate stock or a demi-glaze from the store, saving you time and money.


When you’re prepping vegetables for your stuffing or side dishes, save any scraps that you produce. These scraps can be sautéed and used in the next waste saving tip!


Use the sautéed vegetable scraps to add flavor to your stock! Add the roasted turkey carcass and vegetables, in addition to thyme, bay leaf and black pepper to a stock pot with water on your stove. The offal from the turkey can also be added to the pot, which will give your stock a more mineral flavor.


On the day of Thanksgiving, season and roast the turkey breasts and legs. While the stock and turkey are cooking, skim any residual fat from both and use this to incorporate into any other recipes that need additional flavor—the fat is particularly perfect for stuffing!

By using these methods to reduce your waste, you can get the most out of the ingredients that you’re using, save money, and positively impact the environment, all while infusing more flavor into your food. Happy Thanksgiving!


This blog post was originally published by the International Culinary Center (ICC), founded as The French Culinary Institute (FCI). In 2020, ICE and ICC came together on one strong and dynamic national platform at ICE's campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. Explore your culinary education where the legacy lives on.

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