Right now, some of the city’s most respected chefs are sharpening their knives in preparation for tonight’s OzHarvest CEO Cookoff. The chefs will lead teams of CEOs and their staff to help feed 1400 people in need at the Royal Hall of Industries in Moore Park. Not only will they be serving some good tucker, they’re also aiming to raise $3 million to help the food-rescue organisation fight food insecurity and reduce food waste in Australia.

If you aren’t a CEO or chef, or can’t afford to donate, there’s still plenty you can do to reduce your food waste at home. Here are the top tips from the chefs participating tonight.

Andy Bowdy, Saga
“Keep an eye out for seconds/imperfect fruit and veg at the shops. They always taste just as good and aesthetics aren’t everything. Another tip … is repurpose your dinner leftovers. Sandwiches, salads, stir-fry and frittatas are usually the go-to and easiest options. Not only does it save [on] wastage, but it also saves money and precious fridge space. At work I use cake scraps and turn them into pastes blended with nuts. Old cakes get blended with crème anglaise to make the base of our cake shakes; turn older bruised fruits into jams and purees and veggies into pickles. All easy, tasty options that you can store and use later down the line.”
Donate to Andy Bowdy’s team here.

Lennox Hastie, Firedoor
“Definitely don’t shop when you’re hungry – you’ll always buy more than you need. Grow herbs at home so you can just pick them as you need them. Get creative with your leftovers – combine them with stale bread in a panzanella [an Italian salad of bread and tomatoes] enlivened with chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs (which you have grown) and good olive oil.

“Preserve your food before it’s wasted – learn to ferment, pickle, dry, cure and/or smoke your food so that you can keep it for longer. Start composting or a worm farm so that any food waste goes to the right place; enriching the soil instead of being lost to landfill. Better still: if you have space, get chickens – they love scraps and you get the benefit of eggs in return.”
Donate to Lennox Hastie’s team here.

Jane Strode, Merivale
“Food wastage is something I endeavour to avoid by only buying what I need for the night’s meal. Any leftover herbs I put in a salad the following day for lunch. I also like to make large batches of bolognaise and freeze in portions.”
Donate to Jane Strode’s team here.

Graeme Hunt, Chin Chin
“Get some nice cheap reusable plastic containers so you can freeze extras easily and neatly. Keep some puff pastry in the freezer. You’ll be amazed what you can make into a tasty quick pie for a meal with leftovers.”
Donate to Graeme Hunt’s team here.

O Tama Carey, Lankan Filling Station
“My main hot tip is to have a bit of a plan so you can shop for what you actually need, instead of buying stray stuff you won’t actually get around to using.”
Donate to O Tama Carey’s team here.

Paul Carmichael, Momofuku Seiobo
“My tip, to put it bluntly, would be to make a plan, buy only what you need, use what you buy, recycle what’s not usable.”
Donate to Paul Carmichael’s team here.

Monty Koludrovic, Icebergs Dining Room, The Dolphin Hotel
“You can’t waste what you don’t buy: it’s pretty straightforward, so simple it almost feels silly, but it’s so often overlooked. Think twice about your purchases to minimise the risk of wastage. Shopping regularly and locally is a great way to just buy what you need. If you can walk to the shops or a local market it’s even better.

Nothing edible goes in the bin. This rule is a crucial one. If it’s edible, why am I throwing it out? Think about ways you can save it or use it to amplify another one of your dishes later on.

Only a small bit of leftover pasta, not enough for a pasta bake? Put it in a minestrone or turn your tomato soup can into a minestrone. Minestrone is a key dish in my house because it accepts so many different vibes. Parmesan rinds, vegetables, herbs, herb stalks ...

[Put leftover] bread crusts in the freezer until they build up and you can be bothered, then knock up some croutons and dry them out for breadcrumbs. It’s not hard, takes 10 minutes and brings joy to your family.”
Donate to Monty Koludrovic’s team here.

The CEO Cookoff is tonight, March 25, at the Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park. More information here.