Introducing Chef Tim Ma of Zero Waste Kitchen

Chef Tim Ma is a renaissance man. Going from a left-brain career as an engineer to the more creative right brain role as a chef, came full circle for him. Growing up in a restaurant family, Chef Tim was by default immersed in that life and thus chose to return.

When he decided to open a restaurant, his goals were to not just own a restaurant but also to be a chef and speak “a chef’s language.” Knowing more than just operations and running a restaurant was very important to him and he found the challenge intriguing. Training at what is now the French Culinary Institute, he discovered that he truly loved professional cooking and had a sincere love of food.

As his skills and experience progressed, his goals and philosophy were shaped for how to design his menus; with local purveyors that are plentiful in Virginia where he opened his first restaurant. The thoughtful approach of ‘farm to table’ was prevalent with a rooftop garden and focus on local procurement of produce and meat. Now with his newest restaurant in DC, Kyirisan, he has perfected this process where it is now second nature to him and his staff.

With strong beliefs in place, Chef Tim’s kitchen doctrine is to reutilize whatever does not go on a customer’s plate such as a kohlrabi or beet; or, using the bulb and stem or shells of onions. For mushrooms, he uses the tops for plating and stems for making a stock that is shared with his other restaurants.

The challenge around ordering and food waste, as with any restaurant, is the continual balance of having enough inventory but not running out. Checking inventory at Kyirisan is a conscious and continual process throughout the day. Maintaining an efficient kitchen and being mindful of food waste is a shared responsibility among the staff. Catch more of Tim Ma on an episode of Chefs Dish DC!

And of course, stick with Tim during his food waste journey by checking into his Zero Waste Kitchen!