Stephen Moir is a Culinary Instructor at MCVTS Perth Amboy Technical School and is a nominee for the Green Leader category in the 2018 Green Restaurant Awards. MCVTS Perth Amboy's culinary kitchen is a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant®. He included his high school students in the certification process, administers quizzes on restaurant sustainability, and teaches them to cook with local and sustainable ingredients. By incorporating his students into the certification process and beyond, he is educating the next generation about important environmental issues in their future career. Learn more about Stephen and his enviornmental accomplishments below.
What sustainability accomplishment makes you most proud? I am most proud of our school and District administration with their efforts to allow me to be able to purchase local products. This has allowed our Culinary program to work backwards when planning a menu, we start plant based, then grain or starch and end with protein. After 25 years in the industry I feel rejuvenated when making menus and the students have really bought into the process. This thought process I was able to extend at a Regional Conference for the American Culinary Federation in NYC. I was also able to show a year to year cost comparison to my District administration for 2015-16 to 2016-17. Showing that yes it was more expensive for local and organic produce and seafood, but with reducing the size of the protein by 2 oz. on center of the plate and adding healthy grains (Freekeh, Farro, Wheat berries etc...) as well as savings on buying water bottles we only increased costs by .02% which showed that we could maintain costs to fit into our budget.
Why is it important to you to be a Certified Green Restaurant®? I was changing my curriculum three years back which started me on this journey. I wanted my students to be at the forefront of the industry which will allow them a step up when entering the workforce. So it is important for us to not only make changes, but make changes we were not aware of and also have goals set as a class, school and district. We were able to go from a 2 Star Certified to 3 Star Certified within our first year, having an outside organization work with us as well as certify us is very important.
What would you like to tell other culinary teachers to encourage them to become more sustainable? I would love to tell my story, and have many times over the past few years. We might of been the first public school in the country (also urban school), but do not want to be the last! I was able to present our accomplishments to the Superintendents of New Jersey at one of their conferences about what we were able to achieve. After the presentation we had interest from other districts to try and get certified.
What environmental issue concerns you the most? Food waste, I feel needs to be addressed better. A streamlined way for restaurant to limit waste by donating or composting. Too many people live without proper nutrition, while restaurants have edible waste on a daily basis.