What a Sustainable, Well-Stocked Kitchen Looks Like, According to a Zero-Waste Chef

West~Bourne founder Camilla Marcus shares her cooking hacks and go-to gadgets.
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Like so many others in the restaurant industry, Camilla Marcus felt the stress of the pandemic after shuttering her business, which was the first certified zero-waste restaurant in New York City. Today she’s carrying forth its name, West~Borne, with a new venture focused on zero-waste, plant-based provisions.

Marcus’s line of nourishing snacks, spices, and pantry staples echoes the values of mindfulness and sustainability that informed her upbringing in Los Angeles. We spoke with Marcus about West~Borne, and the choices she’s making in her kitchen at home.

Camilla Marcus is a chef and the founder of West~Bourne.

"I like to do a little thing I call ‘playing jazz in the kitchen.’ Part zero-waste, part creativity—this is when I take any and all leftovers or edible food scraps (think broccoli stems) to make a meal melody. Usually, I make these in my donabe, which I also love to use when making rice. Perfect every time."

Rikyu Tokusa Donabe
This is a very classic-style donabe which you can use for a wide variety of dishes. In Japan, almost every household has at least one classic-style donabe and most commonly use it to cook hot pot (“nabe”) dishes including shabu shabu and yosenabe on tabletop to enjoy with family and friends.

"Composting can feel a little overwhelming for anyone who’s just getting started. I’ve found that a simple bin makes it easy to store food scraps and West~Bourne pouches (yes, they’re compostable). Little steps make big change."

Bamboozle Bamboo Compost Bin
A modern compost bin that eliminates food waste and looks damn good in the process. For nearly everyone, food waste is an inevitable part of daily life.

"I do my best to shop vintage as much as possible when it comes to my home, and I’m a huge fan of searching for vintage wood for my kitchen. Whether you’re shopping at a market, a store, or online, search and curate as many vintage wooden boards, spoons, rolling pins, and bowls as you can find. They’re priceless."

Etsy is a great place to source vintage pieces for your kitchen.

"Diversifying your pantry is one of the best ways home cooks can help drive biodiverse farming. My philosophy is that small steps can create a big change—and in the kitchen, cooking oil is such a great place to start. Avocado oil has the one of the highest smoke points of all plant-based oils, and it’s such a simple switch from animal-derived fats."

West~Bourne Avocado Oil Set
From cooking to finishing, a set of Extra Virgin Organic Avocado Oil and Refined Avocado Oil, grown and pressed in Mexico's winter sunshine and bottled in Southern California.

"Part of living sustainably is storing leftover ingredients effectively. I love these glass jars for keeping sauces, soups, veggies and more. They’re also perfect for preserving citrus and/or pickling."

Turnco Wood Goods Glass Jars With Hand-Turned Wooden Lids
Put a lid on it. Your food storage game just got a big upgrade. We can think of about a zillion uses for these airtight lidded jars, especially because they come in a slew of sizes (16 ounces up to a gallon, take your pick!).

"After I eliminated single-use paper products, these became a staple in my home. They’re durable, washable, and perfect for any mess." 

Morihata International Striped Japanese Linen Kitchen Towels
Sunny stripes. True story: A good tea towel is absorbent, quick-drying, and breathable. A great one is all those things, and beautiful to boot.

"This is the pot that gets better with time. Perfect for just about any meal, a Staub dutch oven is a prime example that quality is better than quantity."

Staub Essential Oven, 3.75QT
Staub enameled cast iron cookware is the top choice for chefs and home cooks alike. Rooted in French culinary heritage, Staub's renowned cocottes are timeless pieces, perfect for casual meals or sumptuous suppers.

"A microplane is one of my can’t-live-without kitchen gadgets."

Microplane Master Series Zester With Walnut Handle
Expect grate things. From the company’s Master Series—and it lives up to its title—this grater means business.

"There’s nothing cozier and more comforting than the smell of an open fire. I stock up on these candles—they’re my favorite way to set the mood when cooking or dining as a family."

Diptyque Feu de Bois / Wood Fire Candle
The candle flame is enclosed in a colored hand-blown glass container. Recalling the crackling of an open fire. Warm and familiar during the winter days.

"I’m currently pregnant with bebe number three, so I’ve swapped my usual go-to glass (or two) of wine—for the creative process—to my all-time favorite nonalcoholic beverage, Ghia. Made from plants, Ghia gives me all of the energy with zero booze."

Ghia Le Spritz
Just like we’re not asking you to choose between burger and fries, moules and frites, or Sonny and Cher, we don’t think you should choose your favorite Spritz.

"I always start cooking by setting the mood with the perfect playlist. Generally it’s a jazz or hip-hop record, but whatever is playing sets the tone for the meal I’m making—and the shared experience we get to have around the table."

Audio-Technica Brown AT-LPW40WN Belt-Drive Turntable
2-speed manual belt-drive turntable in brown.

"Revamp your pantry with our sustainably sourced spices. These home cooking essentials in reusable, recycled-glass jars will inspire you to unlock the supernatural power of vegetables."

West~Bourne Seasoning Starter Kit
These staples will bring our California flavors to your table, day in and day out. Complete with our house Earthy Herb Spice and Smoky Pepper Spice, our Pistachio Dukkah and of course, our Chili Oil.

We love the products we feature and hope you do, too. If you buy something through a link on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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