021: How you can cook with your food scraps with Max La Manna

Max La Manna

In this episode, we talk to Max La Manna. He is an author, a vegan, zero-waste chef. He does not throw any food away and encourage all to compost their food rather than to throw it in a bin. He can often be seen picking up pieces of trash en-route as he goes about his daily life. He is also a magician when it comes to the kitchen, turning everyday ingredients into delicious, beautiful vegan dishes worthy to be served in some of the top restaurants. 

During this episode, we take a look at what exactly it means to be a zero-waste chef. What some of Max’s go-to dishes are and also get some tips on how we can start our journey to more sustainable meals.  

Episode Highlights

[01:48] How did your journey start?

[02:56] It only took one opportunity, two people, one opportunity to really make me consider my daily habits of consumption and you know through that journey I started realising what other impacts I am causing by being vegan.

[04:09] I just started looking for ways to reduce my waste and little by little here we are.

[04:28] Growing up in Connecticut, I grew up in a city. Not like New York City, but like a relatively smaller city and I would see people just litter all the time and it would just break my heart.

[04:58] There was always a time that we would pick up trash on our route or on our walk or when we were at the beach. We were always picking up trash. So it was kind of ingrained in me from a young age.

[05:48] What is it to be a zero waste vegan chef?

[05:54] The goal is to send nothing into a landfill.

[07:39] There are vegan restaurants now, they are everywhere. It is great because now I have friends who, they are not vegan but they are vegan-curious and they are now saying to me, “Hey I only eat meat like on a Wednesday or on a Friday or special occasions but for the most part I try to go to a vegan restaurant ones or twice a week.

[08:17] Veganism is taking over this isn’t a fad, this is actually a trend now like what you going to see on a regular basis and in that moment as I was telling this person, Veganism is taking over, I looked to the right of me and there was a little sign on the table, like a little info card that said “Now introducing vegan croissants”. So everywhere I go places that aren’t vegan they are now introducing vegan options.

[10:44] Some of Max’s favourite dishes to prepare.



Coconut, Blueberry Pancakes 

[12:14] How would you recommend starting the journey to become vegan?

[15:24] What has been one of your most important decisions that you have made around mama earth?

Final Five

1.What is one social media platform that you follow?

 Lauren Singer

Package Free Shop

2.What is your hope for mama earth going forward?

 For everyone to consume less meat, to eat more plants, to get rid of plastic and to start composting. 

3.What advise can you give our crazy birds this week to help out mama earth?

 Find a way to compost, reuse your food scraps as much as you can. Your leftovers, if you have leftovers or food that you want to throw away maybe there is somebody less fortunate that wants the food. Find another purpose for you food. If you can not compost it then see if you can give it to someone else. 

4.What is one sustainability fact that you like to use in a room with people not yet on a sustainability journey?

1.3 billion tons of food is thrown away each year and with that, we can feed everyone.

5.Where can people find you?




Key Take Away

” It only took one opportunity, two people, one opportunity to really make me consider my daily habits of consumption and you know through that journey I started realising what other impacts I am causing by being vegan.”

It only took one opportunity for Max to become Vegan. We often think that what we do does not really matter and question what effects we would be able to have on other people if we refuse a straw for example. It might only be little things but it might be the thing that makes someone else consider their daily habits and they might want to make changes in their life. No matter how big or small we think the change is that we are making, every little step towards a better and healthier Mama Earth is a step in the right direction.

About the author, Mariska

Hi and welcome! My name is Mariska. I am originally from South Africa, but now call the world my home. I am an artist, designer, environmentalist, podcast host and speaker.

I started the Mama Earth Talk podcast in 2018 to share some of the things that I learned about just how easy it can be to reduce your impact on the environment. This then quickly grew into a forum that showcases the amazing things that many people are doing to make the planet better, and further into a source of hope and inspiration for many. A few of the amazing guests include Zero Waste Queen, Bea Johnson, Claude Silver, Kathryn Kellogg and zero waste chef Max La Manna.

If you do not already I urge you to follow me and my journey on social media (@designbymariska), and to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot your own waste using the handy tips I post!

Leave a Comment