I’m the Executive Performance Chef at LSU Athletics. In this role, I’m in charge of overseeing production and directing my team of chefs with regard to the procurement of food, execution, and prep. I also take an administrative position with community and client involvement. I’m actively involved with social media, communicating with other universities, and working closely with our team of dieticians. To sum it up, I oversee the ins and outs of the kitchen here at LSU!
Currently, we have 508 student-athletes who are actively competing and are enrolled at school here at LSU. Our food service operation is open for the athletes to have all their meals, breakfast through dinner, including snacks. Additionally, our lunch service is open to all members of the LSU community.
To start, upwards of 95% of the disposable items our procurement department purchases are sustainable, with them being either recyclable or compostable, so we’re avoiding things that are destined for the landfill. The reduction and substitution of these waste products have drastically reduced the weight of the waste we are sending to landfills, saving us money tied to hauling. Additionally, we divert our organic waste with our pre-consumer food waste going to the ORCA and our post-consumer waste going to a compost program that incorporates black soldier flies to sustainably break down the waste.
Prior to the ORCA and the current facility, food waste was largely going into the trash, with a portion of it going into a small-scale compost and black soldier fly program.
Our kitchen and LSU athletics as a whole share the belief that it is our responsibility to drive the goal of sustainability on campus and through our broader communities. We are proud to have introduced these waste-diversion programs and be an exception from the landfill-focused operations that make up a large percentage of Louisiana.
Physically, the ORCA was the perfect fit for a little spot in our kitchen. But overall, everybody has embraced the ORCA. We initially ran into some challenges associated with putting too much oil and grease into the machine, but we were able to overcome these challenges by installing a plumbing cleanout and by feeding the ORCA a more balanced diet.
Since then, it has been treating us well!
The ORCA has also had a positive impact on our grease trap, as the microbial-rich grey water that exits the ORCA helps to breakdown any organic matter that makes it down our drains from a variety of sources, making our grease trap healthier and reducing the number of times we need to clean it out.