How to feed 150 people with food waste

05 October, 2017 by
Madeline Woolway

As part of Sydney’s Good Food Month, which kicks off on 5 October, OzHarvest CEO & founder Ronni Kahn will sit down with Lee Tran Lam to lead a discussion about the future of food with experts and hospitality industry professionals.

OzHarvest’s executive chef Travis Harvey will create a three-course menu for the Let’s Talk About the Future of Food event, using food rescued from Good Food Month’s Marco Pierre White dinners and collaborating with Gelato Messina to craft a sustainable dessert.

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“We know because of the people working on the event that there’ll be very little waste,” says Harvey.

“We’re looking at 150 pax, which is quite a few people. Because of the quality of the caterers we do expect there’ll be some sort of participation rather than leftovers. They might say ‘look we’re going to be using this, so we’ll make sure there’s some for you to use too.’ It’s very collaborative in that way.”

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While Harvey doesn’t know exactly what they’ll be dishing up on the night, the OzHarvest team is well-versed in making a lot out of what seems like a little.

“What we normally do — and I know this sounds kind of cheesy — but we use technique and inspiration and apply that to what we’re passionate about, which is using waste,” he says.

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“We take the food that producers, farmers, purveyors and sellers have put their passion into bringing it to market and treat every part of the product with respect.”

OzHarvest takes the notion of an offcut and says it’s unacceptable to call anything that. Events like Let’s Talk About the Future of Food allow the food rescue charity to illustrate that concept to diners and form an important part of its strategy to educate consumers without preaching.

“It’s absolutely crucial to have a tangible process like the Good Food Month dinner — especially when we get the opportunity to have a panel and the opportunity to talk to people,” says Harvey.

“When you take the preaching out of it, it really does just open up so much understanding and people get to ask questions about the impacts of things like OzHarvest.

“People are blown away by the fact food waste is turned into one of the nicest things they’ve eaten. That tangible experience really cements the process.”

Converting food products that are usually marked as waste into tasty meals is the best way to convert people, says Harvey.

“One of the main things we say is that the best way to reduce food waste is to make delicious food,” he tells Hospitality. “So we’re not going to try to be too conceptual. But there could be, for example, lots of pumpkin skin that can be dried out, candied or put into an ice-cream or turned into a chutney — that’s the sort of thing where you taste it and it’s as good as anything else, it might have just needed a bit of extra attention to create something special.”

Let’s Talk About the Future of Food is part of Hyde Park Palms — new to Good Food Month this year — where Dan Hong and Mitch Orr will be throwing a Cali-Mexican party and Oakridge duo Matt Stone and Jo Barrett will serve up brunch.