Text: Ale Forbes, Folha de S. Paulo columnist and co-founder of Refettorio Gastromotiva.
In July during a delicious lunch at the awared restaurant Florilège, in Tokyo, the waiter put in front of me, between one plate and another, a small paper. It was written ‘In Japan 17 billion kilos of food are wasted every year, in which five to eight billion are edible. () We believe in sustainability and in the minimization of food waste”.
When I wrote my first column about it, in January of 2014, it was something barely spoken. Only highly engaged chefs dared to light up the wound. The majority preferred to cover their eyes to the quantity of perfectly good food wasted on their own restaurants. The public, then, was not even talking about it: questioning the destination of tons of overdue food discarded in supermarkets, in stores and in homes has always been taboo.
Now the table has turned. Famous and influential chefs like the american Dan Barber and the italian Massimo Bottura lifted the flag of food waste through the WasTED and Food for Soul projects, respectively. Many others also embraced the theme, such as the also American, Matt Orlando, who reuses 80% of the waste at his Amass restaurant in Copenhagen.
Suddenly, subjects that used to be a taboo, as recipes prepared with leftovers, turned into a more than acceptable idea. In October, the documentary “Wasted! The History of Food Waste” produced by the well-known chef Anthony Bourdain and others will be launched in American theaters. During the trailer scenes of hungry beggars and dumps full of wasted food abounds, but it will not stop the movie from becoming a blockbuster.
Bottura will also launch in October the book “Bread is Gold” by Phaidon, a collection of recipes that use ingredients commonly considered garbage, such as old bread and stems. He got them with the chefs who cooked in the “zero-waste” restaurant that he built to feed poor people in Milan, the Ambrosian Refettorio.
In Brazil, in January, the chef Alex Atala will host the Fruto forum, where specialists will discuss topics such as food education and the environment. In addition, new apps have been emerging, as Responsa that map out organic food fairs and groups of responsible consumption. Good riddance to this movement![:]