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A lot of work goes into making beautiful food—trimming, portioning, peeling—but the process creates a lot of waste, too.
It’s a dilemma that troubled Terence Rogers, the chef and owner of TBD Foods, a personal chef and catering service that Rogers moved from Boston to Denver in the summer of 2016. He was already trying to reduce what his team was throwing away by rethinking some of their dishes—for example, dicing mushroom stems and using them to make mushroom risotto)—but he knew he could be doing more.
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In February, he teamed up with personal chef Richard Hammons of Five Star To You to launch Little Scrap Kitchen, a weekly lunch pop-up (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays) inside Forge970 co-working space in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Little Scrap is a way for Rogers to reduce his food waste and take a more casual approach to dining (TBD is more upscale). The concept was, in part, inspired by a summer spent staging at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, a restaurant and farm known for its root-to-tip cooking philosophy. “Food waste is important from a business perspective and an ethical standpoint,” Rogers says. “Little Scrap allows us to utilize extra ingredients in a creative way.”
The sandwich menu changes every week because it’s based on the duo’s personal chef and catering menus. Dishes incorporate a mix of what would be considered waste (parts of a steak they didn’t use when making bite-size apps might be ground up to make burger patties, for example), excess ingredients they prepped for the pop-up, and additional items purchased specifically for Little Scrap. On your plate, that translates to pulled pork Cubanos or shrimp po’ boys or smoked steak and bison burgers. Recently, a “Kinda A Caprese” sandwich layered chicken breast meat, mozzarella, prosciutto, and balsamic aïoli on fresh-baked focaccia. The result was a messy, filling midday meal so tasty that it made me forget there was no basil (a Caprese must).
Currently, Little Scrap mostly serves the 50 or so employees who work in the Forge970 co-working space, but Rogers hopes to expand the concept to an everyday offering. But first, he needs to find a bigger kitchen space; TBD and Little Scrap are quickly outgrowing their commissary kitchen in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. More storage space will also allow the team to build on its philosophy by making more fermented and pickled items and house-made stocks.
For now, Little Scrap Kitchen will continue to operate every Wednesday. But look for the pop-up to make a move in the coming months—one that will make it easier for everyone to get a taste of how delicious leftovers can be.
If you go: Little Scrap Kitchen is located at 970 Yuma St. (inside Forge970); open Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.