From the trash to the table: WastED pop up redefines sustainability in the restaurant industry
We all like to consider ourselves involved in the sustainability movement. For many, the most prevalent method of introducing sustainability into our lives is through our food and our eating habits. Despite the hype surrounding food and sustainability, one pop-up restaurant in New York managed to venture into new territory, taking the movement to a whole new level.
WastED, a pop up event at the Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village, was created with the goal of changing how we think about food waste and reusing food items. The event featured ingredients like bruised produce, fruit peels, fish bones, pulp, scraps of meat, and others that normally don’t make the cut for food preparation in most kitchens, WastED combined culinary creativity with a fresh take on sustainability.
WastED partnered with local farmers, plant breeders, restaurants, fisherman, and retailers to save 600 lbs of “damaged” vegetables, 150 lbs of kale ribs, 30 gallons of beef tallow, 475 lbs of skate cartilage, 350 lbs of vegetable pulp, and 900 lbs of waste-fed pigs. The ingredients were used in the preparation of 10,000 dishes during WastED’s short two-week run, from March 13 until March 31.
Although WastED is over, the excitement it managed to stir up during its run, has been tremendous, in part due to its heavy focus on sustainability. Simultaneously, WastED introduced an incredibly novel concept to set the brand apart from what others may have done in the past — in this case, making waste desirable and delicious.
Furthermore, WastED’s short-lived presence in Greenwich created a significant and permanent mark on the movement towards sustainability. Even for those of us who are zealous in our sustainable eating and cooking habits, it is rare that we can tout our ability — or desire, for that matter — to make use of every single part of the food stuff we consume daily. WastED has managed to redefine the limits of sustainability by pushing the boundaries of edible and inedible ingredients.
What do you think of WastED’s unique take on sustainability? How would you feel about having dishes built entirely on the ingredients that we normally toss out? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi