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2022 Sustainable Gastronomy Day Celebration Spotlights Chefs and Startups Who Are Tackling Food Waste

2022 Sustainable Gastronomy Day Celebration Spotlights Chefs and Startups Who Are Tackling Food Waste

On 18 June 2022, the World Food Forum (WFF) Culture track teamed up with Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) to present the 2022 Sustainable Gastronomy Day Celebration. Over two events, the WFF and XTC hosted passionate chefs and innovative startups (including Chef Radhika Khandelwal, Cristina Domecq, Poonam Bir Kasturi, Travin Singh, Chef Steven Goff, Priyanka (Pri) Srinivas and Maite Guardiola) for a cooking class and fascinating conversation about the innovative ways to decrease food waste.

“What is actually happening is that there is a huge need for change. We, as a population, have been killing the soil that feeds us by injecting a lot of agrichemicals during the past 100 Years,” said Cristina Domecq, Head of Sustainability at CrowdFarming. She stressed the urgent need to transform our current agrifood systems and the need to find solutions to the food waste challenge by addressing farmers directly. “We see a lot of solutions that focus on the consumers, but we decided to focus on the first side,” she said. “One third of all food produced in the world is wasted from farm to fork… It’s clear that there is a need to change this, and from this need, CrowdFarming was born.”

Acknowledging that the biggest percentage of food waste happens in the restaurant industry, the second guest, Chef and Owner of Fig & Maple Radhika Khandelwal walked the audience through another innovative solution: providing sustainable meals by creating fun menu items from kitchen-scraps. “This is not just food. This is an opportunity,” Khandelwal said. Next, the Founder and CEO of Daily Dump, Poonam Bir Kasturi, shared insights on composting and newly adopted urban composting methods. Poonam also talked about the challenges of composting and how to address them. “Composting can be difficult, and it’s our mission to make it cool and fun and by showing people that this is the way you save soil,” Bir Kasturi said.

To conclude the first event, final guest Travin Singh, Founder and CEO of CRUST, shared his journey in upcycling and transforming food. Based on a belief in a more circular economy, CRUST creates sustainable, artisan beers made from surplus bread and other surplus ingredients. “Food waste solutions can be something that you enjoy on a daily basis,” Singh said.

The second Sustainable Gastronomy Day event featured startups that showcased specific initiatives and practices to eliminate food waste. Speakers introduced their companies, all of which take innovative approaches towards organic food and health, for example: utilizing plants at their most optimum level, increasing awareness of sustainable practices and producing compost at home. The event started with Chef Steven Goff, Owner and Executive Chef at Tastee Diner in Asheville, North Carolina, who demonstrated how to cook beef tartar while highlighting the importance of utilizing different organs of animals to make an absolutely delicious meal. “What encouraged me to become a chef is to change the way restaurants deal with food,” Goff said. “The amount of food that gets thrown away in restaurants is a slap in the face of every hungry person on this planet.”

The event ended with guest Maite Guardiola, Co-Founder of Dudu Dunia, encouraging people to compost their domestic organic waste in order to create healthy soils that grow healthy plants, which in turn keep us healthy. “If you don’t finish your amazing dish and you have something leftover, one safe place to put it is your compost bin,” Guardiola said.