The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

The Review

The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

The Review

The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

The Review


This poll has ended.

What is your dream vacation?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.


Which NYT game are you?


There was an error. Please try again.

9 Total Questions

Subscribe to our email list!

Efforts to reduce food waste at St. John’s

Courtesy of Carson Wang
At the end of every week, bakers will take some of the uneaten pastries from the Mav Cafe home and the rest are sent to Second Servings of Houston.

One in seven Houstonians go home every day wondering if they can put food on their table. Director of Food Services Alan Mallett combated this problem by partnering with Second Servings of Houston and Moonshot. Together, the two organizations have repurposed 66,827 pounds of food since enforcing this system only six years ago.

In December, we collected 1,367 pounds of leftover food. That food would have piled up in the landfill,” Mallett said. “Instead, we redirected the leftover food so that it could be composted and reused.” 

After every lunch, the edible leftovers are packed, wrapped and chilled to prepare for volunteers from Second Servings of Houston to pick up every Friday. The food is then distributed to people experiencing homelessness.

“There’s always so much leftover food at the end of lunch,” senior Andrew Sorak said, “and I’m really glad that we’ve found a way to avoid wasting that food and help others.”

When Mallet first took the job of Director of Food Services in 2017, the cooking staff threw away all leftovers. There was no system of redistributing food, and tons of food were wasted. Upset about the wastage, Mallet addressed the issue. 

“It made me sick to see the food go into the trash,” Mallett said.

Chefs use a metric to calculate an optimal amount of food to feed the students and faculty. The cooks ensure the production factor is only 5% above the estimated amount.

Throughout the lunch hour, the kitchen staff restock food pans with the extra food they make, but there are still some days where the extra 5% of food is not sufficient to feed everyone.  

“We try to make more, but occasionally it takes too long,” Mallet said.

At the end of the day, the kitchen team gathers all excess food. Moonshot, a business that collects food waste for composting, collects the compost bins of vegetables and fruits twice a week and turns them into soil. 

When the Mav Cafe has a surplus of baked goods,  they refrigerate and store the extra pastries to sell the following day. After two days, uneaten pastries are thrown away. At the end of each week, bakers take some of these goods home while the rest are sent to Second Servings of Houston.

“It’s a feel-good thing to provide something for people less fortunate,” Mallet said.

On top of managing food waste the kitchen staff has other goals such as incorporating a more diverse diet.

“A few weeks ago, I had some Filipino staff come up to me and talk about how awesome that was,” Mallet said, “I truly never thought I would see Filipino food here.” 

Another goal for the kitchen staff is to green up the campus, but faces challenges with reusable plates and utensils being thrown into the trash. As a result, the school spends thousands of dollars to replace the commodities each year.

“They’ll throw the whole plate into the trash,” Mallett said. “There’s thrown away forks and knives and the people don’t care.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Isabella Adachi
Isabella Adachi, Staff Writer
Isabella Adachi ('27) joined The Review in 2023. She has watched Gilmore Girls all the way through three times.
William Liang
William Liang, Staff Writer
William Liang ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. He is Richard's brother. He likes ice cream and, for his first job, he wants to work at Baskin-Robbins.

Comments (0)

All The Review Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *