Project Green Fork Restaurant of the Month: Tsunami - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Project Green Fork Restaurant of the Month: Tsunami

(WMC TV) - PROJECT GREEN FORK RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH:  Tsunami, 928 S. Cooper St., Midtown Memphis (Cooper-Young Historic District), 901-274-2556,

Great food. Fresh greens. No garbage.

I'm serious.

Any trash that can be either recycled or composted is renewable at Tsunami, Chef Ben Smith's niche of Pacific Rim cuisine in the heart of Cooper-Young.

Smith and his staff recycle every glass bottle, plastic container and cardboard box. Even his to-go boxes are made of recycled content.

At every cooking station, little buckets swallow food waste:  onion skins, carrot peels, non-bleach paper towels. Employees dump those buckets daily into Tsunami's composting barrel out back.

Smith said Tsunami recycles 15 to 25 gallons a week of food waste into compost.

"Compost that is being regenerated and reused as opposed to going into a garbage or a landfill," said Smith.

"We love it because it plays into the whole renewable, sustainable atmosphere that's growing in Memphis now," he added. "Everything from local produce to people being more aware of where there food is coming from.

"It's a throw-back to days when people did this without thinking."

"It saves them money from reducing the amount of trash that's going out to the landfill," said Margot McNeeley, executive director of Project Green Fork ( PGF is a Mid-South non-profit which certifies and supports homegrown restaurants committed to easing their impact on the environment.

Saving money enables Smith to incorporate izakaya into his menu. A nod to Japanese sushi bars and watering holes, izakaya pairs drinks with smaller, affordable Asian dishes -- like Tsunami's Asian Nachos with won-ton chips, seared tuna tataki, jalapeno, cilantro crema and sriracha.

"It's a little bar snack that's not peanuts or pretzels," Smith said. "It plays into our Asian concept a little bit and the small plate concept that we have." 

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