Head Chef Kaido Metsa from JUUR: Quality is grown, not cut out!

Food loss and wastage occur in various stages of restaurant business – even before reaching the plate. This means that restaurant food suppliers also have an important role in “growing zero waste value.” Usually, it’s the stage of food management where restaurants think they might not have control over.  But the truth is they do!

One Estonian top restaurant JUUR, who has been awarded in 2017 by Silverspoon as “best Estonian cuisine” and was marked in White Guide in 2018, might just be the perfect example of managing food loss – from the root until the plate.

Restaurant JUUR is located in a fast developing area of Tallinn – Ülemiste City, where a former industry district has been changed to a fertile soil of cultivating more respect towards food. The leader of this value is a young, highly motivated head chef Kaido Metsa (28), who has decided that food waste starts from the basics – from the roots.

This is why JUUR has decided to have their own arable land, farms and “fields of gold”.  All for preventing food to be left uneaten.

Respect towards food

“If a restaurant devotes itself to grow its own vegetables and fruits, then the respect towards food is much higher. Which basically means that chefs don’t throw away food leftovers so easily. The overall understanding in restaurants is that chefs should use only the best part of the food to get high quality, like tenderloin in meats or the middle root from the carrot”, says Kaido Metsa.

Head chef Kaido Metsa believe that quality mainly depends of how food has been grown. In the restaurant they buy GMO free, biodynamic seeds, which they later put into the soil to grow.

“We started with growing only a limited segment of vegetables like carrots, beetroots and now we have 4-5 tons of raw material every year. We are also planning to dive even deeper – want to start growing food products that are not so valued in the market like lentils and hops. Hops is a big project. Not in purpose of making beer, but also for eating, using it in cooking wonderful meals. You don’t have to be a dentist – locksmith “- welder and a cook at the same time in order to achieve these goals, but you have to love nature, have a deeper understanding of food – quality is grown, not cut out”, says he.

Use to the maximum

For Kaido Metsa it’s all about being innovative and passionate about how they make the food at JUUR. His own attitude changed over the years, and now that he has a good insight of how kitchens really works, he started to wonder:

Why do we refer to some parts of the food as valuable and other parts as useless?”

“For me food making should be logical – meaning everything should be used to the maximum. It’s also healthy for the restaurant budget.  As a country boy I also believe that almost everything you see in the nature can be eaten if it’s prepared right, if a cook makes it with love, care and passion. Because quality is grown, not cut out”, says the head chef.

Photos: Marek Metslaid

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