Austin Chef Uses Leftover Whey to Enhance Other Dishes

When Chef Fermín Núñez of Suerte – a Mexican-inspired, East Austin restaurant – started making his own cheese, he realized he was throwing away a good amount of liquid whey as a result. As part of his effort to reduce his restaurant’s food waste, he decided to try using the whey and created a whey-braised pork dish.

“Whey is great to use because it has a tasty salty flavor that adds another layer of flavor to the dish,” Fermín explained.

He went on to share the steps he takes to reduce food waste at Suerte, which include always looking at the restaurant’s trash and compost to figure out ways to reduce food waste and ensure Suerte is optimizing everything the restaurant pays for.

Don’t Let the Goodness of Whey Go to Waste

The benefits of whey, however, go beyond its flavor. KJ Burrington, the Dairy Ingredient and Cultured Products Coordinator for the Center for Dairy Research says, “Whey protein has become known as the ‘gold standard’ for all food proteins due to the extensive amount of nutritional research focused on its benefits to muscle health. This muscle benefit not only provides muscle recovery to active consumers, it also helps with weight management.”

Nearly one third of the world’s food production is wasted yearly, which equates to more than 1 billion tons of food, the release of methane gas into the environment from landfills, and the financial waste of an estimated $990 billion worldwide. Approximately 30-40% of the global food supply is wasted in the United States, where almost 12% of the population experience food insecurity at any time during the year. 

Chef Fermín challenges others to be realistic when shopping - ask yourself if you will use everything that you buy, if you are truly going to cook items before they go bad or if you are going to use the quantity purchased.

Feeling inspired by Chef Fermín’s approach to reducing food waste? Learn eight ways to reduce food waste at home.

By Gretchen Crichton

Gretchen has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2016. She has a background in public relations and marketing. When she's not working, Gretchen is usually attending her son's or nephew's baseball games. Learn more about Gretchen.