Sustainability from the kitchen: designing our menus

What is the first thought that comes up to your mind when you think about responsible environmental practices in a coffee shop? Perhaps it is solar panels? Reusable cups? Those are certainly ways to work towards a smaller business footprint, but today we want to show you how we look at sustainability from our kitchen.

Some may take it for granted, but the options you see in our food menu are carefully considered from the environmental and social perspective. Every 8 to 10 weeks our chefs design new plates, salads, sandwiches and sweets that make the most of the seasonal products and local suppliers.

Sample sandwich and pickles.

These are the principles followed by our chefs when brainstorming the next dishes:

  • We choose products that are consistent with current local season.
  • We select local and national products against imported, reducing the potential carbon footprint from transport and supporting small independent businesses in our community.
  • We source organic or higher quality, responsibly grown/pastured produce when available.
  • We ration fair servings to keep them affordable and satisfying, while minimising leftovers.
  • We optimise the food preparation process to make the most of our energy and time resources.
  • We observe and analyse the ordering trends so there is 0 to minimal waste of unused pre-cooked food.
  • We constantly communicate with the FOH staff to find out the customers’ behaviour and check if certain sides/ingredients tend to be left uneaten.

Our Head Chef, who has been working in the industry for over 20 years, has a good understanding of how to put this into practice:

“I just talk to our fruit and veg’ supplier, who visits us every week on each delivery, and we have a chat about what are the best products they have at that moment and what will be soon coming up.

After that, every few weeks, we test new recipes that bring on exciting flavours, can efficiently be prepared by our team and avoid potential unnecessary waste”.

A chef at Sample’s kitchen with the updates board

We have some additional tricks to deal with unexpected leftovers or pre-cooked food that is about to go off. Our staff lunches may be creatively put together by our chefs using ingredients that are soon to run past its use date. And in case you didn’t know already, our popular almond croissants are made using the unsold plain ones from the previous day: our chefs prepare the almond crust mix and they bake them in-house on the same day you see them in our bar.

Muffins and the rest of the pastries can’t be sold on the following days. But not to worry… our staff take good care of them when the day is over. Yep, if you are planning to go on a food regime, don’t ever accept a job with us!

When all this works, we have a wholesome, responsibly designed menu and minimum leftovers. Even though there is always some elements out of our reach, we can only keep these principles in mind and work towards a 100% positive impact and 0 waste goal.

These are the food suppliers we are mainly working with at the moment: Dust Bakehouse (bread), The Vege Box (fruit and veggies), Two Providores, Nick’s Food Milk More, Nicholsons & Saville (meat, cheese, etc.), Shortstop (doughnuts), Penny Fours (pastries).

Love from the team at Sample


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