July 30, 2015

Waste Not, Want Not – OzHarvest Canberra

Waste-Not-Want-Not.... OzHarvest-Canberra - www.shenannagans.com

Nearly 20 years ago (I know right….) my hospitality & foodie adventures began. From the fat fuelled days in the kitchens of McDonalds, into a cheffing apprenticeship that led to work in kitchens all over the globe, to hospitality sales & marketing and now event management.  The one thing that has been an overarching theme all these years is food. And you all know just how obsessed I am with beautiful, magical, delicious (get in my belly) amazing food.

Pork Belly & Prawn Amazingness - www.shenannagans.com


Cassia Bark Smoked Beef Fillet - Foodiephiles - www.shenannagans.com


Ginger Fig & Banana w: Proscuitto - Foodiephiles - www.shenannagans.com


Working in this industry, I certainly have seen my fair share of wastage, huge amounts of perfectly yummy food thrown out after a busy restaurant service or large scale event. An entire side of salmon, fillet of beef or kilos of risotto just dumped in the bin, which I reckon is THE most expensive item in a commercial kitchen.

Behind the scenes - Cheffing preparing for a large scale event - www.shenannagans.com

Large scale event plate up

I remember asking senior chefs why we throw out the leftover food, and being told that it could not be used anymore, despite it being perfectly edible. I know for me, using up leftovers gives me a real sense of pride, feeling that I’ve been resourceful and thrifty. So the obvious food wastage was always a bugbear of mine.

Chef Anna - Behind the Scenes - www.shenannagans.com

Getting my Chef On!

In 2009 when Dave Burnet, OzHarvest Canberra Manager (& now family friend) presented at a Rotary luncheon about an organisation that specifically deals with leftover food generated by the hospitality and events industries, I knew it was an organisation I wanted to be a part of.

Dave - OzHarvest - www.shenannagans.com

Photo by the AMAZING Anne Frisch – Dave Burnet, OzHarvest CEO signing the newly released OzHarvest cookbook

You see friends, OzHarvest rescues excess food that would otherwise be dumped in the trash and wasted, and distributes it to members of the community who are hungry and in need, turning that food into a resource and saving thousands of kilograms of food from being dumped as landfill each year too. Yep, this charity is without a doubt my favourite.

Waste Not, Want Not - OzHarvest Canberra - www.shenannagans.com

Check out just how much GOOD OzHarvest have done to date!

Imagine just how freakin special and honored I felt back in 2011 when Dave asked me to be the Australian Capital Territories 1st OzHarvest Ambassador?! #amazeballs

Waste Not, Want Not! OzHarvest Canberra - www.shenannagans.com

Being an OzHarvest Ambassador ROCKS!

Flying the OzHarvest flag being an MC at a fundraiser for 300 of the industries most respected, and showing just how easy it is to prepare delicious food at Floriade each year. #BOOM

Waste Not, Want Not‘ is my motto. What say you? Do you think about how you too can keep your food wastage down, and contribute leftover food to someone who might be hungry?

Waste Not, Want Not - OzHarvest Canberra - www.shenannagans.com

Photo by the AMAZING Anne Frisch – Speaking at the OzHarvest Think.Eat.Save Canberra event in July 2015

We are very fortunate as a community to have OzHarvest, an outstanding bunch of people with such huge hearts. Every one of those connected with this awesome cause believes that good food should not go to waste, and that we all have a role to play in helping vulnerable people in our communities.


Do you think that we waste too much food? And would you donate food, time or money to OzHarvest? 


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shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Rosemary - March 28, 2016 Reply

How inspirational! You go girl! That’s really amazing that you are involved in preventing food wastage. So glad to hear about OzHarvest. May you have continued success and I hope the organization blossoms into a world wide group. Thank you for sharing your involvement!

Tammi @ Tea For Tammi - March 28, 2016 Reply

Oh wow I didn’t know you were an Oz Harvest ambassador!! Well done. I keep wanting to sign up to help out, but they keep telling me that there are too many volunteers! Haha.

Elissa - March 27, 2016 Reply

Such a great idea, and interesting to hear about it from a chef’s perspective. A great thing to be a part of and support.

Lauren - March 27, 2016 Reply

Great to see less food being wasted! Also Anna – you’ve had such an amazing and interesting career!!

Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears - March 26, 2016 Reply

I remember seeing you at this event, and eating soup together! It is a fabulous charity, isn’t it? As you know food security is something close to my heart. Thank you for helping to promote it.

Paula McInerney - March 26, 2016 Reply

Wastage is such a huge issue. Just the other day, we drove past a bin behind a fruit and veggie shop, overladen with good and usable goods. Love OzHarvest and what they are achieving.

Krysten - March 26, 2016 Reply

This organization sounds absolutely amazing. I’ve been in the industry for about 10 years now and I know how much waste can go into it. Thank you for this post

Krista Bjorn - March 26, 2016 Reply

What an excellent organization to be part of, Anna. It is such a shame to throw away food that could so easily sustain others. Wonderful. xo

Behind the Scenes with OzHarvest Canberra - COP21 - December 11, 2015 Reply

[…] and distributing excess food, as many of you know it’s been something I’ve been doing with OzHarvest Canberra for years. In fact, I may be guilty of becoming a bit obsessive about not wasting stuff, my […]

Ice - September 26, 2015 Reply

Hi Anna

Wow I’ve been living in Canberra for quite a while but haven’t heard of Ozharvest. Having to worked in hospitality at one of the biggest hotels in the city I myself witnessed how much food was wasted after every functions we had there. I’m pretty sure all leftover was thrown straight to bins and makes me feel guilty at some point? One corner of my mind’s telling me “a lot of people round the globe hasn’t been eating especially children at this time I wish I could send this leftover thought to them” I’m glad I run into this website,great cause. Well done guys

    Anna - September 28, 2015 Reply

    Hey Ice
    Yeah, it really is a wonderful organisation, one I am proud to be a very small part of. OzHarvest did leave Canberra for a couple of years, but now they are back, and for good! I know right, it’s really scary to see so much amazing food just end up in the bin, there were sooooo many times when I alone was thinking, dang…. I’ll take it and feed myself for a week. LOL! I am so pleased you now know about OzHarvest, I hope you are able to share with your colleagues and friends the good they do for our community, and maybe get onto that hotel you worked at and get them to start donating that leftover food too.
    Thanks heaps for your comment, great to have you here.
    Wishing you a super week. Cheers, Anna

Hannah - August 6, 2015 Reply

We waste HEAPS of food as a nation!!!!
I literally cringe every time I see a reality cooking show and the amount of food they waste in the name of pretty camera shots.
I love the idea behind OzHarvest – Waste not want not!

    Anna - August 7, 2015 Reply

    I didn’t even consider the amount of wastage that happens on those reality cooking shows. But you are right, I imagine there would be a good chunk. I remember a few years back OzHarvest & Masterchef partnered up, perhaps they did see a need to curb that thought.

John/Kitchen Riffs - August 6, 2015 Reply

What a great organization! It’s impossible to run a professional kitchen without some leftovers, and so nice to see them being used — and for a really good cause — rather than being discarded. Good post, love the photos! Thanks.

    Anna - August 7, 2015 Reply

    It’s amazing John! They do SO much good for my community. Plus, it’s an excellent way for restaurants/function caterers etc. to be involved and do some good for the community too. I love that the left over food is going to people who really need it, rather than feeding a bin/trash.
    Glad you enjoyed, thanks as always for stopping by.
    Happy weekend. 🙂

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef - August 5, 2015 Reply

20 years?? Get outta here. You look 20 now! OzHarvest is such a great organisation (and yes I had to stop and put an s where the z was).

    Anna - August 7, 2015 Reply

    Nawh….. Thank you very much please thank you to you! 🙂
    Yep, its an amazing organisation, I love everything that it stands for.

Jem @ Lost in Utensils - August 5, 2015 Reply

Well done Anna! Oz Harvest is a fantastic organisation, I have connected with them here and there. Food wastage is one of our biggest problems and needs to be addressed, particularly when food insecurity is a growing issue in our country.

    Anna - August 5, 2015 Reply

    Totally agree Jem, OzHarvest is AMAZING. And I am pleased you are doing ‘stuff’ with them in your neck of the woods too. Every little bit counts. 🙂

Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe - August 4, 2015 Reply

Wow what a fantastic organisation to be involved with. Food waste is just so staggering when I hear of the hospitality industry. It seems crazy that there are people starving when there is food being thrown out but it is also heartening to know of a few people who use rescued food in feeding the needy. My mum goes to a local bakery for anything not sold each week and delivers it to those who need it.

    Anna - August 5, 2015 Reply

    I agree…. I absolutely agree. It is disgusting the way the hospitality industry just allows so much excellent food to go to waste. It would blow my mind seeing perfectly delicious food just thrown in the bin at the end of a function or restaurant service.

    And your Momma is amazing!

Dean - August 4, 2015 Reply

Great initiative overall and well run by Dave Burnett and the crew. Lets also not forget the flow on affect on the students who prepare the food. The skills the students obtain from being a part of these events both social and specific are amazing. We had one student there on the day who is generally very shy and introverted yet was seen assisting and chatting to a customer who was obviously homeless. Great work overall

    Anna - August 4, 2015 Reply

    It absolutely is a wonderful organisation, Dean. And does SO much good for the community, not to mention those behind the scenes who we dont see a lot of. Well done to you and the St Edmund’s school boys too, they were a delight at the Think.Eat.Save event, and it was awesome to see them so involved, not to mention the delicious soup we were all treated too.

Sue Slaght - August 4, 2015 Reply

Anna I am thrilled to read your post. I actually had goose bumps. Since 2007 Dave and I have volunteered weekly in our local Food Bank. The issue of hunger is obviously close to my heart. Bravo for your efforts!

    Anna - August 4, 2015 Reply

    You guys are AMAZING!!! I L3>VE hearing stories like that. Really, that is fantastic you guys are sooooo passionate about utilising food that would other have been wasted and assisting those in your community who need it most.

    Fist bumps, high fives and a cheeky happy dance for you guys. xo

Bam's Kitchen - August 3, 2015 Reply

Hiya Anna! Great cause and so good to see good things happening in your community. We have something similar in HK called “Feeding Hong Kong” They take food from grocery stores and restaurants and cook meals for the poor in HK, using the food that is still good but cannot be kept by the F &B places in HK. Fresh fruit and vegetables loads of them, so sad for them to go to waste. Take Care, BAM

    Anna - August 4, 2015 Reply

    Happy Hellos to you Ms Bobbi!
    That is excellent, what a wonderful initiative. Good to hear similar programs to OzHarvest are a thing all over the world. Great that the food is going to people that really need it.

Liz (Good Things) - August 3, 2015 Reply

Well done Anna… I definitely think we waste too much food… all over the world… and sometimes in my own kitchen… thumbs up for Oz Harvest. Glad to support this great organisation.

    Anna - August 4, 2015 Reply

    Thanks heaps lovely one! 🙂 My contribution to this amazing organisation really is very minimal. But…. It is great to be involved all the same, especially getting people to think about ways to better utilise left over food & or sharing with those less fortunate.

    Yep, OzHarvest really are amazing. Thanks for helping to spread the word. xo

Jan (A gluttonous wife) - August 3, 2015 Reply

Having a hospitality/chef back ground too (jinx!!) this concept just warms my heart. I’m no longer actively in the industry (due to illness not for falling out of love!!) I now pride myself on the challenge of wasting as little food as I possibly can. One constantly hungry labrador and 4 chooks help this even more. Bravo to you Anna!!! Cheers, Jan x

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Oh that is a TOTAL bummer you are no longer working in the industry, I find it so sad when passionate people cannot get their chef on due to illness. *sadfaces
    BUT…. I very much love that you are using up every last bit of food you possibly can. Bless the puppy and your chookies too.
    Good you are doing your bit towards the whole food wastage bit. You rock Jan. xo

Mabel Kwong - August 3, 2015 Reply

This is such a great initiative and amazing you get to be a part of it. Wear that Ambassador title with pride, though it was a few years ago!

I have never worked in hospitality serving food or in retail, but have heard countless stories from my friends who have that restaurants and supermarkets do not hesitate to throw out food just like that. It’s as if leftovers are looked down upon :/ One thing I always hesitate to throw out is avocado. Even if it’s already sliced, I wrap it with cling wrap and put it in an airtight container in the fridge.

Awww, food following you wherever you go, Miss Anaa. I know this is just a commercial TV show, but maybe you might want to try for MasterChef 😀 Hugs your way and hope you have a good week <3

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Miss Mabel! Happy hellos to you little one. *mwah

    Yep, OzHarvest is amazing, I love that I get to be involved, even if it is in a very minor way. I am still an Ambassador for the Canberra branch of the organisation, although havent done anything too much as they are only recently back in Canberra. But I will indeed shout from the rooftops the awesomeness of the charity. 🙂

    Yep, its disgusting the attitude that many have towards leftovers and even foods that are not perfect. Even more reason to spread the word about the work of OzHarvest and similar organisations. Haha… avocados are fruit of the gods, wouldnt dream of throwing an avo away either.

    You are too kind, however I am unable to go on the cooking shows as I am a qualified chef. But I reckon it would be a bunch of fun to do the ‘My Kitchen Rules’ gig.

    Big squishy hugs headed your way. xoxo

hassan - August 3, 2015 Reply

Hay Anna
Do you know Iranian food?

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Good Hello Hassan
    As always, thanks for stopping in. I appreciate it!
    I haven’t eaten a lot of Iranian food. Have you some recipes to share with me?

Agness - August 3, 2015 Reply

Oh, girl! Your dishes look absolutely fantastic, especially the right one with fruits. Mniam mniam!! How long does it take to make it?

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Haha! Thanks heaps Agness, I really am spoilt with the delicious food I get to eat almost daily.
    It was pan seared banana with figs, prosciutto & a ginger syrup. Much deliciousness. 🙂 Only took about 10 minutes from fridge to plate.

Suze The Luxury Columnist - August 2, 2015 Reply

This is such a worthy cause and fantastic that you are one of their ambassadors. We have similar small schemes in London but they’re not coordinated by one organisation as far as I know

Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Yeah Suze, it’s pretty darn cool I am involved. 🙂
    That is awesome London has similar organisations, it is good to know that people all over the world consider food wastage a worthy cause.
    Keep spreading the word I say!

Ala - August 2, 2015 Reply

This…is….AWESOME. I seriously want to cry every time I see large amounts of food going to waste, from those folks at the buffet who just don’t know what it means to take one plate at a time, to the massive dumping of food that goes on in large organizations. SO GLAD you shared this with us, thanks so much!

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Nawh! Thanks Ala. 🙂
    Oh I hear that…. Seeing perfectly delicious food go in the bin is one of the WORST possible things for this little foodie to see. And yes…. buffets, I didn’t even think of them. That is indeed a disturbing thing to see. And you cannot control that one without being seen as a total jerk.
    Thanks for stopping in lady. Appreciate it muchly.

Tim UrbanDuniya - August 1, 2015 Reply

Yes – totally agree. I worked for a cafe chain once and we threw out all the food which we didn’t sell by the end of the day. Something about the legal dangers of giving free, almost-expired food away. I hated doing it – and wished that there was a way to counter that. This is fantastic!

Hope you’re having a great weekend my friend – only 1 month of winter to go 😀

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Yep Tim, it was the legal issues for pretty well all the organisations I worked for that threw the food away too. OzHarvest has jumped through those hurdles and laws have been passed that ensured surplus food could be donated to charitable causes without fear of liability. THANK GOODNESS!!! 🙂

    OzHarvest is an amazing organisation, and the more people that are aware of it, the better.

    Haha! Maybe a month for most of Australia, but a good few months of winter for us in Canberra.

cityhippyfarmgirl - August 1, 2015 Reply

Good on you Anna. Go you good thing, keep flying that flag wonderful lady 🙂

    Anna - August 3, 2015 Reply

    Thanks my lady! It is really cool to be involved in the very small way I am. I love the organisation and everything it stands for. 🙂
    Good on you flying the flag for OzHarvest in your neck of the woods too. You are amaze!!!

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - August 1, 2015 Reply

OzHarvest is such a awesome organization and event and I’m so happy you were part of it. Great positive share!

    Anna - August 1, 2015 Reply

    Thanks lovely one! It really is an amazing organisation, and such a pleasure to be involved with. Proud to be an Ambassador! 🙂

Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong - July 31, 2015 Reply

What a wonderful Cause and Organisation… Would love to be a part of this amazing organisation.. 🙂

    Anna - August 1, 2015 Reply

    Yes, it really is Arpita, everything about the organisation is AWESOME! 🙂
    And I am sure there are similar organisations in your neck of the woods you could get involved with. Even it is just spreading the word about food rescue.

Mandy - July 31, 2015 Reply

Hello Miss Ambassador – what an honour for such a wonderful cause Anna! Brilliant stuff. I loathe waste so this one really excites me.
Have a beautiful weekend hon. Pete and I are off to Kenya for a week!
🙂 Mandy xoxo

    Anna - August 1, 2015 Reply

    Hey Ya Miss Mandy! *Mwah!
    I know, I really am just so blessed to be involved with such a fabulous organisation. I love that it exists and is doing so much good for my community too.
    Ooooh, such fun. Happy hello’s to you Pete and enjoy Kenya. Far out…. that sounds SO cool.
    Loves and hugs. xoxo

Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella - July 31, 2015 Reply

There is so much food wasted. One of the favourite things that I did on my blog was follow an OzHarvest driver Andrew around for a day. It was shocking how much food was wasted!

    Anna - July 31, 2015 Reply

    Yeah, it’s pretty scary actually, I just dont understand the mentality behind throwing it away when it could go to someone that needs it.
    So it’s pretty amazing that we have organisations like OzHarvest that are working on changing that.
    And YES, totes agree about heading out in the van, all the fun it was.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - July 31, 2015 Reply

I think this is a brilliant cause. I’m very aware of food wastage and I make sure we don’t contribute if at all possible 🙂

    Anna - July 31, 2015 Reply

    You are a legend Ms Tandy! Good to see you are doing your bit for the South African communities.
    Happy weekend to you my lady. x

kris - July 31, 2015 Reply

I couldn’t agree more about the incredible amount of wastage that goes on in kitchens. Mostly in Event based kitchens. It was painful throwing the items out as it was to difficult to guarantee what would happen with the food if it was given away. Because it was just so important that it was correctly stored.
You are part of such a wonderful organisation Anna. You should be very proud of yourself. We live in such a wonderful part of the world that can give to less fortunate and you are taking the lead on that. Bravo!!!

Thank you for sharing with us.

    Anna - July 31, 2015 Reply

    Yeah, it was pretty disturbing at times to see all that deliciousness hit the bin. Especially when we were poor apprentices and were eating rice & noodles almost every meal. Sigh! Anyways, it is fantastic we have OzHarvest here in the Berra and that a lot of catering/food outlets are on board and donating. They are doing SO much good, which pleases me greatly.

    Thanks for the support Nizz. Really appreciate you saying so. xo

Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) - July 31, 2015 Reply

Love Oz Harvest and good on you Anna for being involved.

    Anna - July 31, 2015 Reply

    I feel blessed to be involved. 🙂
    Its such a fab organisation, pleased you dig it too.
    Happy weekend lady. xo

Elizabeth - July 31, 2015 Reply

What a fantastic event 🙂 I went to the one here on the coast and it was fabulous!!!! Look out for my oz harvest post tomorrow…. On a happier note, I got the subscription email! YAY!
Thanks for sharing about the fabulous organisation! Liz xxx

    Anna - July 31, 2015 Reply

    The Think.Eat.Save event was AWESOME. We fed something like 600 people at the Canberra event. Hope it was equally as successful at your event. 🙂
    YAY to receiving the email. I miss you when you dont stop by each week.
    Have a great weekend lovely one. Mwah! xox

Jasline (Foodie Baker) - July 30, 2015 Reply

This is such an amazing organisation! I’ve not worked in a restaurant kitchen but to throw away all those perfectly edible food is such a sin! If there is such an organisation in Singapore in the future I’d love to be a part of it!

    Anna - July 31, 2015 Reply

    Yes, it really was difficult to see delicious food go to waste like that. So it really was super amazing when OzHarvest became a thing.
    And go you good thing. I am SO pleased to hear you will get involved with an organisation like OzHarvest in your neck of the woods.

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