Chefs Cook Up Strategies To Combat Food Waste

Chefs from over 100 different countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the biennial Worldchefs Congress and Expo earlier this week. Taking place from July 11th to 14th, this year’s congress incorporated a special focus on combatting the issue of food waste.

According to Al Jazeera, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted or lost before it ends up on the table. In a world where one in every nine people go hungry, reducing the amount of food wasted is a moral imperative, and when you factor in the greenhouse gases emitted by food that ends up in the landfill, food waste becomes a sustainability issue as well.

The World Association of Chefs’ Societies, or Worldchefs, used this year’s Congress to make moves to tackle the issue of food waste.

In a partnership with Electrolux and AIESEC, Worldchefs have launched an initiative called “Feed the Planet” which encourages chefs across the globe to start measuring the amount of food wasted from their kitchens, in a bid to cut the amount of food they discard.

At the conference, the Chairman of “Feed the Planet,” Chris Koetke, spoke of the responsibility that they hold as chefs to address the issue.

“Those of us in white coats – we cook a lot of food; we use a lot of energy; we use a lot of water; we make a lot of waste,” said Koetke.

“So we have a responsibility to the larger society, to the planet, to make sure we’re doing well in each of those categories.”

As well as the Feed the Planet initiative, the Congress spotlighted ReTaste, a pop-up, not-for-profit restaurant in Stockholm, which champions the concept of reusing food waste.

Twice a week, ReTaste serves up seven course meals made using mostly produce that would have otherwise been thrown out by supermarkets. In an on-site demonstration at the Congress, ReTaste chef Christopher Ekman created pasta made from stale bread that had been ground down and mixed with flour, eggs, and salt.

By spotlighting food wastage, and innovating initiatives such as Feed the Planet and ReTaste, Worldchefs is recognizing and targeting the 1.3 billion tones of food that ends up rotting in the rubbish, the 1 billion people who are undernourished, and the 1 billion people going hungry, each year according to the UN.

So the next time you go to throw out those leftovers, or let the contents of your fridge spoil, take a leaf out of the Worldchefs recipe book – don’t let it go to waste.