Thursday, 24 July 2014 | MYT 12:00 AM

Dumpster dining to reduce food waste

Activists are rising up against food waste with the creation of pop-up restaurants sourced with foods destined for the bin. – shutterstock/AFP

Activists are rising up against food waste with the creation of pop-up restaurants sourced with foods destined for the bin. – shutterstock/AFP

Salvage Supperclub saves foods destined for the trash heap and cooks up a new dining experience.

In line with the growing movement to reduce waste and rethink the value of food worldwide, a supper club in Brooklyn is hosting monthly dinners created from old, ugly, overripe fruits and vegetables that would have otherwise been destined for the dumpster.

The Salvage Supperclub is the latest dining experience created to underscore the importance of reducing food waste in the developed world.

Dreamed up by a design and social innovation student at the School of Visual Arts in New York, 16 guests sign up to voluntarily dine inside a retrofitted dumpster and tuck into a multi-course meal made with ingredients like overripe bananas, warty, ugly carrots and old eggplants – all foods that may be past their prime, but are still completely edible.

Foods are donated and salvaged from local farmer’s markets and bakeries and would have otherwise been thrown out.

A volunteer shows an 'ugly' strawberry at the Fruta Feia (Ugly Fruit) co-op in Lisbon on March 17, 2014. The co-op was created over the last year with the objective to give another 'destiny' to the fruit and vegetables that don't fit supermarket standards. Founder Isabel Sores decided to create this association in a bid to curb wastage and also help small farmers who are struggling due to the financial crisis. – AFP

With the help of chefs from the Natural Gourmet Institute, graduate student Josh Treuhaft is hoping to push a “new norm in food desire”, one that deters consumers from throwing out a banana just because it’s brown and bruised and helps people rethink the value of food.

“By showing people all of the amazing food that can be made from salvaged ingredients, over time we’ll start to see less food getting wasted because we’ll be expanding people’s definitions not just of what’s edible, but what’s desirable,” he said of his project.

For one of the dinners, guests were fed dishes like ripened eggplant baba ghanoush and roasted cumin carrot hummus on toast; potato latkes topped with pineapple applesauce; roasted parsnip, apple and potato soup drizzled with chive-infused oil and banana custard tart with pecan crust.

bear stealing dumpster

The Salvage Supperclub is similar in concept to Rub og Stub (which translates to “lock, stock and barrel” in English), a restaurant in Copenhagen that bills itself as the first in the city to battle food waste.

The eatery buys surplus foods stocked at supermarkets and grocers that never get to the produce aisle because they may not be aesthetically up to snuff.

Likewise, food-sharing concept Cookisto created in Athens allows people to sell their leftovers online instead of binning it, while PareUp is an app developed to allow retailers and restaurants in New York to sell their leftovers to consumers.

In a bid to raise awareness and curb food waste, last year France decreed Oct 16 the first national day against food waste.

The next Salvage Supperclub is set to take place in August. Proceeds of the US$50 (RM158) go to charity. For more info visit – AFP Relaxnews

Tags / Keywords: Salvage Supperclub , supper club , salvaged food


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