So much food waste, so little time

In my blog post, “Social Purpose, Millennial style,” I wrote about how I came to begin writing about the food waste reduction movement and Third Age instead of the obvious topics of restaurants and recipes. The reason is that it would be very hard to motivate myself to write about said topics because, while I love fine dining, I’m no food critic and have only basic cooking skills. Plus, there is no shortage of folks writing in this space. But as an inveterate recycler and someone who rarely discards food, the food waste reduction movement hits close to home―and the social, economic, and environmental issues around food waste are pressing enough to engage me in [what is for me] this labor of love.

As I’ve said, I have no real idea about whether Fine Diners Over 40 members share my interest in my blog topics. But I want use my writing gifts to help raise awareness about this important issue among members and the public at large.

Precision farming in Minnesota, NASA Earth Observatory, Jesse Allen, via Wikimedia Commons

The eye opener

In the introduction to my blog site I note how I first became aware of the food waste reduction movement: It was when the celebrated Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village transformed itself for three weeks in March 2015 into “wastED,” a pop-up devoted to the theme of food waste and re-use. The New York Times’ Pete Wells attended one evening―not for the purpose of writing a conventional review, but an article on the whole curious affair.

An array of guest chefs joined Blue Hill chef/owner Dan Barber in making this food-waste-reduction statement. The night Wells was there Philippe Bertineau from Alain Ducasse’s Benoit was at the helm. Wells wrote: “I had one of the best times I’ve enjoyed in a restaurant in the last year. The food was great, full of the surprises that happen when cooks run into inspiration at full creative tilt.”

The TimesFlorence Fabricant called wastED “A high-profile experiment in wasting nothing . . . .”―the sentiment I so relate to (see “Fine dining and food waste?” and “Movie time, and John Oliver”). In this short video, chef Dan Barber talks about the interesting story of wastED.

Since I learned about the movement I’ve come across several other chefs around the world who are on board. One recent high-profile production was spearheaded by chef Massimo Bottura at the Rio Olympics: ReffetoRio Gastromotiva. Another New York chef, Mario Batali, and co. have published a recipe collection titled “Ugly Food” to show how to maximize flavors from bruised and blemished produce. There are many more exciting goings-on in this realm, do stay tuned.

Every year an unconscionable amount of food is wasted worldwide, policymakers are fretting about “feeding the nine billion,” and the threats of climate change are all too real: So much food waste, so little time.

Originally published at blog.finedinersover40.com in The Food Waste Reduction Movement, September 23, 2016