Putting the taste in waste: Char­ity events save food from the bin

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - LOIS ABRA­HAM

TORONTO — Trash is the new culi­nary trea­sure for some cre­ative chefs who are re­pur­pos­ing in­gre­di­ents nor­mally des­tined for the garbage.

Din­ers at an up­com­ing Trashed and Wasted char­ity event in Toronto can ex­pect to con­sume food and drink made from in­gre­di­ents res­cued be­fore they could be­come waste, or that are be­ing re­pur­posed to get another life out of them, says or­ga­nizer Brock Shep­herd.

Chefs will be us­ing fat, bones, or­gans and the like from Sana­gans Meat Locker. Hooked, a sus­tain­able fish com­pany, is sav­ing the cheeks from their butchered fish for use in a dish. The Venezue­lan eatery Arepas Cafe will stew green plan­tain skin that’s nor­mally dis­carded to serve with to­stones, twice-fried plan­tain slices. And left­over toasted bread is go­ing into beer, while whey from cheese pro­duc­tion at a lo­cal dairy is go­ing into a vodka.

Shep­herd, who has owned sev­eral restau­rants, long ago be­came aware of need­less food waste.

“One of the things that drove me nuts, we would do smooth­ies and I would see staff chop off the top of a straw­berry to get rid of the green, and they’d leave the shoul­ders of the straw­berry too where there was per­fectly good fruit,” he says.

In Van­cou­ver, the Royal Dinette restau­rant has held five sim­i­lar Ugly Duck­ling din­ners. Not only have they raised aware­ness of food waste and re­cy­cling, but they’ve also of­fered the chefs a chance to ex­plore dif­fer­ent tex­tures and tech­niques, says gen­eral man­ager Chen-Wei Lee.

Be­sides putting kale stems in pasta or in­fus­ing ice cream with flavour from cof­fee grounds, they have made syrup from the shells of snap peas and mixed it into a cock­tail.

In another in­no­va­tion, stock made from fish bones was used to cut the salti­ness and sharp­ness of the liq­uid from brais­ing oc­to­pus, which Lee says is gen­er­ally wasted.

Shep­herd says Trashed and Wasted was in­spired by sim­i­lar in­ter­na­tional events, in­clud­ing the WastED pop-ups launched by chef Dan Bar­ber out of his New York restau­rant Blue Hill.

The United Na­tions says onethird of food pro­duced for hu­man con­sump­tion is lost or wasted glob­ally, which amounts to about 1.3 bil­lion tonnes per year. Food is lost or wasted through­out the sup­ply chain, from ini­tial agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion to fi­nal house­hold con­sump­tion.

Tick­ets for the March 1 Toronto Trashed and Wasted event are $35, plus food and drink, or $50 all in­clu­sive.

Pro­ceeds will go to Se­cond Har­vest, which picks up do­nated sur­plus food and de­liv­ers it to com­mu­nity agen­cies in Toronto.

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