Susanne Duplantis has mastered the art of turning leftovers into new dishes.
The Baton Rouge resident started her blog, Makeover My Leftover, and Instagram page in hopes of helping others reduce the amount of food waste in their homes.
“Food waste is my passion,” says the New Orleans native. “If I can help one person or one family save money by saving food, then I can consider myself successful.”
During Duplantis more than 20 years in the restaurant industry, she’d often leave recipe notecards on customers’ to-go boxes with suggestions on how to reimagine them. Once she started doing this, she noticed more people were taking home their leftovers. After a stroke forced her to leave the industry, she created her blog in 2014 to continue inspiring people to give their leftovers a second chance.
And in late 2020, it even led to an appearance on Netflix’s new series, Best Leftovers Ever! You can catch her on episode six of the cooking competition show, sharing her spin on leftovers.
While making beef curry and pakora, she told the judges, “I’m from Louisiana, so my tastebuds are a little ‘wow’ when it comes to spice.” (Watch her episode here.)
On her blog, Duplantis’ ideas range from what to do with leftover sour cream to how to revamp your leftover pizza slices. Her recipes are developed by going back to the basics and “breaking down the item.” By asking herself what she can do with pizza, for example, she goes through its different elements.
“Cheese—what can I do with that? Tomatoes—how would I use tomatoes? Once you break down a leftover like that, it’s easier to repurpose it,” Duplantis says.
She shares tips like shrinking your plate size, because eating on a smaller plate can encourage smaller meal portions, ultimately saving food.
Duplantis invites readers to ask for food prep tips via Instagram message. She also holds food waste workshops to help educate others on saving money by using leftovers as a new source of meals.
Duplantis likens the volume of the United States’ food waste to being enough to fill up LSU’s Tiger Stadium every day.
“It is reported that 40% of all prepared food goes to waste, and the average family of four wastes approximately $2,200 a year,” Duplantis says. “That’s a family vacation!”