Forty-percent of food made for consumption is going uneaten for reasons like oversupply and aesthetic standards for produce. To challenge that, Three Squares New England, a grassroots organization that supports hunger relief agencies in the greater Boston area, is organizing its first Ultimate Food Rescue Challenge. For one evening, people can savor meals with rescued food and get a taste of the food waste and hunger problem in the Boston area.
For the challenge, the chefs know only a few things about their ingredients: there will be donated grass-fed beef from Verde Farms, poultry from food rescue non-profit Food Link and about 75 pounds of produce from Russo’s, a family grocery store in Watertown. According to Three Squares Executive Director Kati Sigel, the challenge is innovating with the quality and quantity of the unknown produce and meat cuts to create a fine-dining experience for around 100 people.
For participating Chef Frank van Overbeeke, working with rescued food is a challenge he’s quite familiar with. As the head chef of Pine Street Inn, a shelter that provides services to the homeless, van Overbeeke’s kitchen uses rescued food on a daily basis. "It allows my cooks to be a little creative," he says. “I never know what I’m going to receive, so we kind of have to figure it out when it shows up."
Van Overbeeke will be joined by other local chefs such as Ismail Samad, Executive Chef at the nonprofit grocery store and cafe Daily Table that also uses rescued food, and Joe Gatto whose new show, “From Scratch”, encourages viewers to cook from scratch with local ingredients. “It’ll be kind of fun to share our experience on how we process and manage our food,” van Overbeeke adds.
Sigel is excited to have the locally based chefs represent the collaborative effort of reducing food waste and addressing a hunger problem that affects one out of nine members of the Eastern Mass community. She says, “The main aspect [of the Food Rescue Challenge] is these chefs want to be out in the crowd to mingle, answer questions and show everybody that there’s good food in surplus or left on the field that’s healthy and delicious and should be eaten — not abandoned.”
The event will take place at French bistro Les Zygomates, where guests can enjoy live music and a live auction.
Thursday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m., Les Zygomates, 129 South St., Boston, $75, http://www.threesquaresne.org/
Want to save food at home? Try these rescued cooking tips from Chef Frank van Overbeeke
5 techniques to save fruits and veggies past their prime.
Make stir fry. You can throw everything in them, so leave no vegetable behind!
Flavor things up! Spices can take the place of expensive ingredients.
Any vegetable can be pickled. Plus, it’ll make them last longer.
Make a puree or sauce with bruised or soft fruit. A drizzle will give your meat or fish dish more color.
Roast them and add vinaigrette. So simple, yet so delicious!